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Wales rugby legend JPR Williams dies aged 74 | UK News

Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby legend JPR Williams has died aged 74, his former club has announced.

He played a big part in Wales’ success in the 1970s – helping them to three Grand Slams – and featured on the triumphant Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and 1974 in South Africa.

The former fullback, instantly recognisable with his low socks and long sideburns, also played for Bridgend, London Welsh and the Barbarians.

It was while playing for the Barbarians in 1973 against New Zealand that he was involved in what is widely regarded as the “greatest try ever scored” – a stunning 22-second blitz from one end of the field to another ending in a try by Gareth Edwards.

“Bridgend Ravens are devastated to announce the passing of JPR Williams,” the club said in a statement.

“One of Bridgend’s most decorated players and an icon of world rugby, JPR served the club most recently as club president.

“Our thoughts are with JPR’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Rugby legend JPR Williams waves as he stands in the Royal Box after being introduced on Centre Court on day six of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Saturday, July 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Rugby legend JPR Williams, pictured in July last year. Pic: AP

Welsh International full back JPR Williams, who has become their mosted capped player with 54 caps. Williams first played for the national side in 1969.

The British and Irish Lions described Williams as “one of the greatest ever Lions”.

“A man who inspired so many. It is with huge sadness to learn that JPR Williams has passed away at the age of 74. All our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in Peace,” they wrote in a post on X.

Irish Rugby said Williams was a “true legend of the game”.

“A joy to watch on the field and a gentleman off it. Rest in peace, JPR Williams. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family,” they said in a post on X.

Rugby star and surgeon

Born John Peter Rhys Williams in Bridgend, South Wales, in 1949, JPR as he would later become known, was the son of two GPs.

He initially shared his time as a schoolboy between rugby and tennis – at one point winning a British junior title at Wimbledon in 1966.

It was his decision to pursue a career in medicine that would eventually lead JPR to choose rugby over tennis – because the sport was amateur at the time and so allowed him to continue his education and train at the same time.

British Lions winger J.P.R. Williams gets his foot to the ball despite the efforts of Springbok Chris Pope in the test match at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, June 22, 1974. (AP Photo)
JPR Williams playing for the British and Irish Lions against South Africa in 1974. Pic: AP

He was awarded his first of 55 caps for Wales against Scotland in 1969 – at the start of what would be Wales’s second golden era of rugby.

With players like Edwards, Barry John, and Phil Bennett, Wales dominated much of the 1970s, with Williams helping the side to Grand Slam wins in 1971, 1976, and 1978.

Welsh rugby legends Gareth Edwards (left) and JPR Williams in the gardens of Buckingham Palace where they attended a Royal garden party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.
Welsh rugby legends Gareth Edwards (left) and JPR Williams in 2006

He was also a member of six Triple Crown-winning teams throughout the period and won eight caps for the Lions.

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At the same time, Williams continued his career in medicine, qualifying as a physician in 1973.

JPR, who was awarded an MBE for services to rugby in 1977, retired from international rugby in 1981 to focus on his work as an orthopaedic surgeon.

JPR Williams, the Welsh international rugby star, Tommy Smith, the Liverpool soccer player, and tennis star Roger Taylor at Buckingham Palace after receiving their MBE s.
JPR Williams (left) was awarded an MBE in 1977

However, he continued to play for club side Bridgend through the 1980s and 1990s, before joining Tondu where he remained until retiring in 2003.

Speaking about his mixing work and rugby, he told WalesOnline in 2019: “I was happy with my career as a surgeon and happy with my experiences in rugby.

“I was lucky to play for Wales when I did. I was surrounded by great players, who undoubtedly helped me become the player I was. And I enjoyed my club rugby, too.”

Police ‘smelled cannabis’ during stop and search of Ricardo Dos Santos and Bianca Williams | UK News

A police officer said he thought he could smell cannabis coming from the car of sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos and his partner Team GB athlete Bianca Williams, a misconduct hearing has heard. 

The top athletes believe they were racially profiled during a “disturbing” stop and search incident as they drove to their home in West London on July 4, 2020.

Five Metropolitan Police officers have denied accusations of gross misconduct.

PC Allan Casey told a colleague “there’s certainly a whiff of something” during the encounter.

The couple, who were travelling with their then three-month-old boy, were handcuffed for 45 minutes, and searched for drugs and weapons, but nothing was found.

The disciplinary hearing was also shown footage of PC Casey “walking the route” the couple had driven to check nothing had been discarded from the car, but again, nothing was found.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog, which the misconduct case has been brought on behalf of, alleges some of the officers “lied” in saying there was a smell of cannabis when they stopped the car, the hearing was previously told.

PC Casey also told the hearing he didn’t think any driving offences could be proved against Mr Dos Santos.

Ricardo Dos Santos outside Palestra House, central London, where he has given evidence to the gross misconduct hearing of five Metropolitan Police officers
Ricardo Santos outside court

Bianca Williams outside Palestra House,

Mr Dos Santos has previously told the hearing he feared for his family’s safety during the encounter.

Dashcam footage showed officers pulling Mr Dos Santos from the driver’s seat and taking him to the roadside where he was handcuffed.

A tearful Ms Williams can then be heard telling police: “My son is in the car – I need to look after him.”

Moments later she too is handcuffed, as one of the officers suggested the couple had “antagonised” the police and “may have something to hide”.

At one point in the footage, the infant can be heard crying as an officer leaned into the back of the car to “check around the baby seat” before Ms Williams is allowed to collect her son.

Bianca Williams police
Police bodycam footage of the incident

Ricardo Dos Santos during stop and search, July 4, 2020

29-year-old Ms Williams is a gold medallist in the 4x100m relays at the 2018 European Championships and Commonwealth Games.

28-year-old Mr Dos Santos competed in the 400m sprint at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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Acting Sgt Rachel Simpson and PCs Allan Casey, Jonathan Clapham, Michael Bond and Sam Franks all face allegations that they breached police standards regarding equality and diversity during the stop and search.

Acting Sgt Simpson and PCs Clapham, Bond and Franks are accused of breaching standards over the use of force and respect.

PCs Casey, Clapham, Bond and Franks also face allegations over the accuracy of their account of the stop.

Read more:
Sprinter ‘feared’ for family during police stop and search
Bianca Williams tears up as she recounts police stop and search

They have said they believed the car was being driven suspiciously and have denied any wrongdoing.

The five police officers involved could be sacked if gross misconduct is established.

The six-week hearing continues.

Eleanor Williams sentencing: Three men tried to take their own lives over woman’s rape lies, court hears | UK News

Three men tried to take their own lives after being falsely accused of rape, a court has heard.

Eleanor Williams accused the trio and others of attacking her and in May 2020 she posted on Facebook she was the victim of an Asian grooming gang, along with photos of injuries the prosecution claims were self-inflicted with a hammer.

The woman’s allegations led to an “unprecedented outcry” and protests in her hometown of Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in public displays of mass anger not seen there for more than 30 years, said police.

There were 151 extra crimes following the social media post, including 83 hate crimes, Preston Crown Court heard.

Some businesses shut and members of the community left their homes because of the outcry, the police added.

Williams, 22, is waiting to learn her fate at a sentencing hearing after being convicted of perverting the course of justice in January this year.

In court on Monday, business owner Mohammed Ramzan said the allegations against him had made his life “hell on earth”.

Eleanor Williams
Eleanor Williams was found guilty of perverting the course of justice

‘I still bear the scars’

He said he tried to take his life two weeks after being arrested over Williams’ claims and added: “I still bear the scars to this day.”

Mr Ramzan said he had “countless death threats” on social media from people “all over the world”.

His property was damaged and his businesses were “ruined” after he and his family were targeted “in the most horrendous way”, Mr Ramzan told the court.

Read more: How woman’s lies and self-inflicted injuries unleashed hatred and death threats

Mohammed Ramzan
Mohammed Ramzan

Another man, Jordan Trengove, said: “The lowest point was when I tried to end my life in August 2020.”

He said in a statement to the court that after Williams alleged he raped her, the word “rapist” was spray painted on his house and his window was smashed.

After he was charged, he said he spent 73 days in prison, sharing a cell with a convicted sex offender.

A third man, Oliver Gardner, said his chance encounter with Williams in Preston led to him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Mr Gardner, who was accused of rape after he met Williams in the city centre, said it was a “real shock” when he was contacted by police and told of her claims.

He said: “It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

In his statement, he said he tried to end his life before being sectioned. He added: “This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming.”

Defending Williams, Louise Blackwell KC said: “Miss Williams continues in her allegations against the various people in pretty much the same circumstances.”

On Tuesday, the defendant is due to be sentenced for nine offences of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

Eleanor Williams: Woman who made Asian grooming gang claims found guilty of perverting course of justice | UK News

A woman who claimed she had been the victim of an Asian grooming gang has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Eleanor Williams, 22, put pictures on Facebook and claimed she had been groomed, trafficked and beaten – but prosecutors said her injuries were self-inflicted with a hammer.

Her post was shared more than 100,000 times and led to demonstrations in her hometown and a visit by English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson to “investigate”.

A jury at Preston Crown Court today found her guilty of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.

As well as claiming an Asian gang abused her, the court heard she had accused multiple men of rape going back to 2017.

Williams, from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, published the pictures in May 2020 after claiming she’d been taken to a house and raped.

However, prosecutors said the injuries were self-inflicted with a blood-stained hammer found by police at her home.

Jonathan Sandiford KC said it was the “finale” to a string of lies.

“The defendant goes online to her social media contacts and effectively finds random names on the internet she presents as being victims of trafficking or perpetrators,” he told the jury.

It was alleged she sent some social media messages to herself, making them appear as if they were from traffickers or other victims.

In other cases, she was accused of manipulating real people to send messages which she then said were from abusers.

A Snapchat account she said belonged to an Asian trafficker called Shaggy Wood in fact belonged to an Essex man who worked in Tesco, the trial heard.

Jurors were also told about Williams’ claims that businessman Mohammed Ramzan had groomed her from age 12, making her work in brothels in Amsterdam and even selling her at an auction in the city.

Prosecutors compared it to the storyline from Liam Neeson film Taken, but said that at the time she was in Amsterdam Mr Ramzan’s bank card was being used in B&Q in Barrow.

Mr Ramzan told Williams’ lawyer during questioning: “Don’t you think you have put my life through enough hell, or your client has?”

One man she accused of rape, Jordan Trengove, told the court the claims had ruined his life.

Williams denied telling a “pack of lies” and told the court she wanted “people to know what was going on in Barrow, still is going on”.

She pleaded guilty to one count of perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing, after contacting her mother and sister to ask them to take the hammer to her solicitor.

Williams will be sentenced in March.