Mirror : Was MI6 spy nuked?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Was MI6 spy nuked?

By Jon Clements | September 7, 2010

The body of murdered MI6 agent Gareth Williams is being examined for radiation poisoning as no obvious cause of death has been found.

The move comes as police began hunting a mystery Mediterranean couple who visited his block of flats weeks before his death.

Meanwhile, the 31-year-old's corpse will be tested for traces of chemicals such as Polonium 210 - used to murder exiled Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

Other poisons police are searching for include traces of cyanide, stricknine and even ricin, which Bulgarian agents used to murder dissident Georgi Markov in 1978 on Waterloo Bridge.

A postmortem has found no answers and toxicology tests unearthed no signs of alcohol or drugs in his system.

Police sources say there is no indication of radioactive poisons but investigators could not rule out anything.

Scotland Yard yesterday released CCTV footage of his last-known movements as he caught a Tube train on August 14 and shopped in Central London the next day. His naked corpse was found in a zipped and padlocked red North Face bag dumped in his bath on August 23.

Detectives believe the unidentified couple may have visited him at the apartment late at night in June or July. The man and woman, thought be aged 20 to 30, were buzzed in by entryphone at the communal front door but none of the neighbours knew them.

The couple are the only recent visitors to the address in Pimlico, Central London, believed to still be unaccounted for. One theory is they were acquaintances of the murdered agent who were unknown to his family or employers.

Tests have shown there were no marks on Mr Williams' body, no signs of forced entry or disturbance at the property and nothing was stolen. The Cambridge-educated maths genius had returned home on August 11 from a holiday in the US.

He had often flown to the States on top secret work visiting the National Security Agency's eavesdropping HQ. Over the next few days back in London he was captured on CCTV at Holland Park Tube station in West London, dressed in a red T-shirt and clutching a shopping bag. The last camera sighting of him was on August 15, when he went into Harrods in Knightsbridge and walked towards nearby Sloane Street, near a Dolce and Gabbana store.

Police found his body on the afternoon or August 23 after being alerted by MI6 staff when he failed to turn up to work.

Det Chief Insp Jacqueline Sebire, leading the investigation, said: "I would appeal to anyone who may have seen or had contact with Gareth between August 11 and 23 to come forward. This remains a complex, unexplained death enquiry."

Russian exile Mr Litvinenko collapsed on November 1 four years ago after drinking from a cup of tea spiked with Polonium 210 while meeting two former KGB secret service men at a hotel in London.

Doctors were initially mystified about the cause of his illness. They wrongly believed it was rat poison until advanced tests identified the rare radioactive isotope.

Mr Litvineko died on November 23 from heart failure after suffering agonising stomach pains. Six months later UK prosecutors announced that former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi should be charged with murder. Russia will not extradite him.



Named after Poland. Just 0.1 microgrammes - equal to one-ten millionth of an aspirin pill - would be fatal.