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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Woman quizzed on ex-AM's death
Massage Parlour
Dr Williams was visiting a massage parlour in Cardiff
Police have interviewed a 19-year-old woman massage parlour worker after the death of prominent Plaid Cymru politician Phil Williams.

Officers say the woman has not been arrested and no charges are expected against her.

Dr Williams, 64, collapsed at the Cardiff massage parlour and died.

A coroner has ruled out holding an inquest on the former assembly member after Home Office pathologist Dr Debbie Cook decided Dr Williams died of a heart attack.

Police were called to A Touch of Class in Woodville Road, Cathays, at around 2225 BST on Tuesday.

Dr Williams was taken to the University Hospital of Wales where he was pronounced dead.

Officers are not treating the death as suspicious.

Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan coroner Dr Lawrence Addicott decided against an inquest after a post-mortem examination because Dr Williams' death was natural causes.

A spokeswoman for Dr Addicott said on Thursday afternoon: "Our involvement with Dr Phil Williams' death is now at an end.

"He died of natural causes and there were no suspicious circumstances and so there will not be an inquest."

His body is expected to be released to his widow for the funeral arrangements.

Space scientist

The death of Dr Williams was announced on Wednesday night. He leaves a widow, Ann, and two children.

He retired from the Welsh assembly at the election only six weeks ago.

It is a privilege in a small country to have people who are really intelligent who are prepared to put their time into public life
Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas

Professor Williams had been a leading figure within the party since the 1960s, helping to develop Plaid Cymru's economic policy.

He was also a respected space scientist, and was a professor at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Tributes to Dr Williams, who was well-respected across all political parties, have been flowing in.

Former Plaid president Dafydd Wigley said it was "very sad news".

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, the assembly's presiding officer, heralded his work within Plaid.

"He was a very effective chair of the party, he was a very effective campaigner," he said.

Phil Williams
Dr Williams was an expert in both economics and astronomy

"It is a privilege in a small country to have people who are really intelligent who are prepared to put their time into public life."

Plaid colleague Cynog Dafis called Dr Williams "a man of prodigious intellect".

"He had this incredible memory and understanding - he applied that in the development of policy for Plaid Cymru.

"His enthusiasm for Wales, and his commitment for the cause of Wales, his belief in Wales as a nation and a nation capable of becoming a fully self-governing independent nation - that drove him in all things."

'Brilliant'

Other parties joined the tributes.

Labour First Minister Rhodri Morgan said: "I had got to know Phil very well during his four years at the assembly.

Phil Williams
He came to prominence at a 1968 by-election in Caerphilly

"He obviously had a brilliant scientific mind and I admired greatly his unique style in applying the principles of science to the problems of society and the economy.

"He will be greatly missed in Welsh public life."

A "deeply shocked and saddened" Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne said: "Phil was a key player in Plaid Cymru and I know that his contribution and hard work in the party was respected and acknowledged throughout the world of politics."

Assembly Liberal Democrat leader Mike German said: "I share others' views of his intellectual prowess. He was a deep thinker.

"I particularly enjoyed his musical companionship. He was a talented man whose ability covered his politics, his academic work, the arts and music."

As shadow minister for economic development, Mr Williams was named Welsh Politician of the Year by Channel 4 in 2000.

Dr Williams made his name in the party during the Caerphilly by-election of 1968, which he narrowly failed to win from Labour.

He grew up in the south Wales town of Bargoed and studied physics at Cambridge.

His career - as an expert in solar physics - took him to Aberystwyth, where he became a professor in 1991.

On his retirement from frontline politics, he said he planned to spend more time on academic research.

But there had also been much speculation among Plaid AMs that he might run for the party presidency which will be vacated this summer by Ieuan Wyn Jones.

Dr Williams' funeral will take place in Aberystwyth on Friday, 20 June.


WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Wales' Hywel Griffith
"Flags were flying at half-mast at the assembly"



SEE ALSO:
Warm tributes for former AM
12 Jun 03  |  Wales
Former Plaid Cymru AM dies
11 Jun 03  |  Wales
Plaid searches for new leader
09 May 03  |  Wales


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