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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Rugby star's holiday cell ordeal
Shane Williams on Thursday
Shane Williams returned to Wales on Thursday
British Lions rugby star Shane Williams has spoken of his ordeal in a holiday island police cell after being mistaken for a man who attacked a taxi driver.

The Wales and Ospreys winger arrived back in Swansea on Thursday after authorities returned his passport.

Williams, 28, said his time in the Larnaca cell was "the longest 24 hours of my life".

Williams was taken in for questioning by police on 1 July - the day he was due to fly home from Cyprus.

He had been nearing the end of a two-week holiday in Ayia Napa when police mistakenly claimed he had seriously assaulted a taxi driver in an incident in the town 12 days before.

"I was asked a few questions about an incident that occurred in the town and it went on from there," he told a news conference in Swansea.

Shane Williams at the Swansea stadium
You read about these things in the papers but you never think it will happen to you
Shane Williams

"I was actually in the police station for six hours before being taken into a cell. I didn't understand the language and didn't know what was going on at all.

"I was kept in the dark and it was only another six hours later that I was told what the offence was".

Williams said the cell was "disgusting....it was like something from Shawshank Redemption".

He added: "I certainly wouldn't want to go through that again and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone."

Williams said he found the experience "very frightening and intimidating".

'Total stitch-up'

"Obviously there was no physical abuse but there was a mental strain. Especially when you know you are innocent of a crime that they are trying to pin on you. You read about these things in the papers but you never think it will happen to you."

Williams and his solicitor John Morris only returned back to Wales on Thursday morning after Cypriot authorities finally released Williams' passport.

Mr Morris, who flew out to examine CCTV footage and provide witness statements, said: "This wouldn't have happened in the UK and it was clearly a total stitch-up.

"The police were not going to look for evidence to prove that Shane was innocent, so the consequences could have been much more serious."

Despite missing the weddings of two of his best friends and the start of pre-season training with the Ospreys, Williams said he does not intend to lodge any complaint.

"I just want to get away from it all," said Williams.

Showing that he had not lost his sense of humour, he added: "I knew I should have gone to Tenby."



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