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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Friday, 29 March, 2002, 21:55 GMT
Pool tragedy at actor's party
Art Malik's home in Surbiton
Daniel Williams drowned in Art Malik's pool
Actor Art Malik has paid tribute to his daughter's boyfriend, who drowned in the family's swimming pool.

Daniel Williams, 23, was attending the 21st birthday celebrations of the actor's daughter Jessica at the Malik family home in Surbiton, south-west London, on Thursday.

The newly-qualified firefighter, who lived nearby, was found unconscious on Friday morning in the marquee-covered pool and could not be revived by paramedics.


Daniel loved life and was loved so much by lots of people

Statement from Mr Williams' family
He was pronounced dead at Kingston Hospital and a post-mortem examination later established that he had drowned.

Speaking outside the house, Mr Malik, star of films including True Lies and A Passage to India, said: "We wish to express our deepest sympathy to Dan's family.

"We can only imagine what they are going through at the moment and our thoughts are with them."

He added: "Dan was a very special person, and we very much considered him part of the family.

"He had been Jessica's boyfriend for seven months and they were very happy together.

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"Yesterday [Thursday] he gave her a beautiful bracelet to mark her birthday - a gift she will now always cherish.

"She is clearly upset and distressed by what has happened."

Following a surprise celebration for about 100 people at a hotel in Hampton, some of the party guests went back to the Malik home and swam in the pool.

Mr Williams stayed behind in the pool after the other guests left and was then discovered on Friday morning.

Art Malik
Malik threw a surprise party for his daughter
Toxicology tests were being carried out to discover whether there were any other contributory factors.

Mr Williams' family spoke of their grief at his death.

"We are all completely devastated by this tragedy," they said in a statement issued through police.

"Daniel had recently qualified as a fire-fighter and we were all very proud of his dedication and achievement.

"Daniel loved life and was loved so much by lots of people and we can never fill the gap we are left with."

Detective Inspector David Way said the cause of the drowning remained a mystery.

He said the victim had been found unconscious and wearing swimming trunks, by party guests.

"What was supposed to be a celebration ended in tragedy," he added.

'Bright future'

Officers have searched Mr Malik's home and some of the people in the house, and taken away various unnamed items.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman said Mr Williams had completed his training two weeks ago and was posted to Knightsbridge.

He added: "Daniel was very happy in his job and had a bright future. It is very sad for the service and his family."

Party guest Colin Chisholm, 63, said: "This is dreadful news for Art. I feel for him and his family."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's June Kelly
"Party-goers tried in vain to revive him"
Actor Art Malik
"We wish to express our deepest sympathy to Dan's family"
Detective Inspector Dave Way
"A tragic incident"
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