UKPA : MI6 chief attends funeral of spy

Friday, September 24, 2010

MI6 chief attends funeral of spy

UKPA | September 24, 2010

Spy Gareth Williams, who was found dead in a flat in central London, has been laid to rest in a service attended by the head of MI6.

Sir John Sawers made the journey from London to the small Bethel Methodist Chapel in Anglesey on Friday to support Mr Williams's family and represent the maths genius's colleagues who could not attend.

Sir John, the public face of the agency, took his place in the 115-year-old church through the front door - unlike a number of other spooks ushered into the building through a back door to protect their identities.

Mr Williams, 31, was on secondment at the Secret Intelligence Service from GCHQ in Cheltenham, when he was found dead last month. His body was discovered trapped in a padlocked North Face holdall placed in the bath of his flat in Pimlico.

Mystery surrounds his death and police continue to investigate. No trace of drugs or alcohol was found in the cycling enthusiast's body.

Outside church, when asked if the investigation would ever get to the bottom of what happened to Mr Williams, Sir John said it was not for him to say. He insisted it was a police matter and said: "It has been a desperately sad period for the family since Gareth died.

"It has been very difficult for them and I wanted to be here today as the only public face of the Secret Intelligence Service. My deepest sympathies go to the family. 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."

Tearful relatives followed Mr Williams's pine coloured coffin into church with his parents Ian and Ellen and sister Ceri, whose husband Chris Subbe also paid tribute to Mr Williams during the service. Mr Williams's parents issued a short statement saying: "Ellen, Ian, Ceri, Chris and all the family wish to thank everyone for all the sympathy and kindness shown to them in their bereavement."

Mr 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 refused to categorise his death as murder.

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

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