Police hunt for couple seen near murdered spy’s flat
by Darren Devine, Western Mail | September 7, 2010
DETECTIVES probing the death of Welsh spy Gareth Williams yesterday revealed they are hunting a man and woman of “Mediterranean appearance”.
A Scotland Yard spokesperson described the pair, aged between 20 and 30, as “potential suspects” over the murder of the code breaker.
The two were let into the communal entrance of Mr Williams’ flat in Pimlico, central London, late one evening in June or July.
His decomposing naked body was found padlocked shut in a holdall in a bath in the top floor flat by officers who broke in on August 23 after Mr Williams failed to appear at work for several days.
Yesterday officers released CCTV footage of him as they appealed for the public’s help.
It showed the 30-year-old, from Valley, Anglesey, entering Holland Park Underground station about 3pm on Saturday, August 14.
Police said post-mortem examinations found “no obvious cause of death” and initial indications from toxicology tests showed no trace of any alcohol or routine or recreational drugs.
A force spokesman added there was no sign of any forced entry to his flat in Alderney Street or disturbance inside, and no property was believed to be missing.
Mr Williams, who worked at Government listening post GCHQ, was days from completing a one-year secondment to the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in Vauxhall, London.
Police said Mr Williams had returned from a planned holiday in the United States on August 11, and went shopping “on a number of occasions” in the West End and Knightsbridge areas.
On August 15, he went to a cash machine and then to Harrods before CCTV images show him in Hans Crescent, heading towards Sloane Street, near a Dolce and Gabbana store, at about 2.30pm.
Police said Mr Williams, who was 5ft 7in and of muscular build with short hair, was wearing a red T-shirt, beige trousers and white trainers.
Detective Chief Inspector Jacqueline Sebire, who is leading the inquiry for the force’s homicide and serious crime command, said: “I would appeal to anyone who may have seen, or had contact with Gareth in the period between 11th and 23rd August to come forward and speak with us.
“This remains a complex unexplained death inquiry.”
Though his body was found more than a fortnight ago scientists have, as yet, been unable to establish a cause of death.
And despite police referring to an “unexplained death”, Home Office forensic pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers said the circumstances suggest it was “clearly a homicide”.
Dr Rodgers, who has worked on high-profile murder investigations in North Wales, said aside from cases where someone has died of injuries such as stab or gunshot wounds, establishing a cause of death was more complex in a decomposing corpse.
He suggested Mr Williams may have been poisoned or strangled with a necktie as a pathologist would have problems establishing this on a decomposing body.
Dr Rodgers said: “The difficulty with any body that’s decomposing is that some of the subtle signs of certain modes of death can be very difficult to ascertain – like asphyxia with a ligature.”
Dr Rodgers, 57, who works part-time at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd in Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire, added: “What you have to remember is that from the process of decomposition chemicals are produced in the body which can affect the analysis of various poisons, so you’d get false positive and negative results.
“I don’t know anything about the case other than what I’ve read in the papers and has been on the news, but I suspect he’s either been poisoned or strangled in some way.”
In a statement shortly after his body was found, Mr Williams’ parents Ian and Ellen hit out at rumours that suggested the codes expert was involved in risky sexual practices, saying they had been “very distressing”.
In tribute to him they said: “Gareth was a generous, loving son, brother, and friend, and he was a very private person.
“He was a great athlete, and loved cycling and music.
“His loss has devastated us and we would ask anyone with information to come forward and assist the police inquiry.”