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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Pool death man took drugs cocktail
Daniel Williams in firefighter's uniform
Daniel Williams was found floating in the pool
A man who drowned in the swimming pool at actor Art Malik's home had taken a cocktail of champagne and drugs, an inquest has heard.

Firefighter Daniel Williams, the boyfriend of Malik's daughter Jessica, was found in the pool and was pronounced dead at hospital.

Tests showed he had consumed large quantities of alcohol as well as cocaine and ecstasy before falling asleep on a lilo.

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

Mr Williams, 23, was attending Jessica's 21st birthday celebrations at the 1m family home in Surbiton, south-west London.

Art Malik
Party host: Art Malik
A post mortem examination carried out by forensic pathologist Dr Peter Jerreat found enough alcohol in Mr Williams's body to put him three times the drink-drive limit.

He also found 0.69 micrograms per millilitre of ecstasy in his urine - equivalent to at least four tabs - and 0.31 micrograms per millilitre of cocaine.

In a written statement, Dr Jerreat said the combination of ecstasy and cocaine was "capable of causing cardiovascular upset such as acute collapse", and if he was surrounded by water, "drowning would readily occur".

The inquest heard that the party started earlier in the evening at the Mitre Hotel, near Hampton Court, at which Mr Williams consumed a large amount of alcohol, including beer, wine, champagne, vodka and cocktails.

Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Cassidy said the party ended at midnight but 30 to 50 guests went back to Malik's five-bedroom home, which had an outdoor heated swimming pool.

Swimming competition

He said Jessica had gone straight to her bedroom and fallen asleep drunk but Mr Williams joined guests downstairs.

He briefly went home to the flat he shared with a fireman colleague 10 minutes' walk away to collect his swimming trunks before returning to the party, where guests were playing in the pool.

The police chief said: "While they were swimming, they were drinking from several wine bottles, which were being passed around.


Swimming pools and parties are a potentially fatal mixture

Penny Williams, firefighter's mother
"Guests were playing. At some stage, there was a competition to see who could swim the most lengths underwater, and Daniel took part in this."

He said by 0600, all the guests had returned inside except Mr Williams.

It was not until 0645 that guest Daniel Martin went outside and saw Mr Williams face down at the bottom of the pool, he said.

After raising the alarm, two men dived in and pulled Mr Williams out and efforts were made to resuscitate him while an ambulance was called.

Malik, 49, and his wife Gina, 46, were indoors at the house at the time of Mr Williams' death.

Tributes

After the inquest at Fulham coroner's court in west London, the young firefighter's mother Penny Williams read out a brief statement on behalf of the family.

She said: "In two weeks time it is Daniel's birthday, when he would have been 24 years old.

"At that time, we will be holding a celebration of Daniel's life and our pride in his achievements.

"We have had many wonderful tributes given to us about Daniel. He was highly thought of amongst his friends.

"To us, his family, he was a whirlwind of energy, a gentle, compassionate person and hilarious fun."

She added: "The only glimpse of positiveness that may have resulted from this attention is the hope that more people may be made aware of the fact that swimming pools and parties are a potentially fatal mixture."

See also:

29 Mar 02 | England
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