Guardian : MI6 chief attends funeral of intelligence worker Gareth Williams

Friday, September 24, 2010

MI6 chief attends funeral of intelligence worker Gareth Williams

Sir John Sawers pays tribute to 'hugely talented person' who did 'really valuable work in the cause of national security'

Press Association | September 24, 2010

The head of MI6 has attended the funeral of Gareth Williams, the intelligence officer found dead in a padlocked holdall in his London flat.

Police are still investigating the death last month.

Sir John Sawers, the public face of the agency, took his place in the Methodist chapel in Anglesey through the front door – unlike some agents who used a back door to protect their identities.

Outside the church Sir John said Williams's death was a police matter, adding: "It has been a desperately sad period for the family since Gareth died. Gareth was a hugely talented person and he was very modest and generous as well.

"He did really valuable work with us in the cause of national security."

In the church, tributes were led by Islwyn Williams, the headteacher of the code breaker and cipher specialist's primary school, Ysgol Morswyn.

Mr Williams said of all the children he taught, Gareth made the strongest lasting impression and was academically brilliant.

Williams was last seen alive eight days before his body was found.

CCTV showed him shopping at Harrods and at Holland Park tube station.

Police have not categorised his death as murder.Williams was days from completing a one-year secondment to the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in Vauxhall, London.

He was due to return to a rented flat in Cheltenham where Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, is based.

Williams also worked for the United States National Security Agency and made regular trips to Washington DC and Fort Meade, near Baltimore.