Wales Online : Welsh spy's death a professional hit, claims expert

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Welsh spy's death a professional hit, claims expert

by Darren Devine, Western Mail | September 2, 2010

WELSH spy Gareth Williams was murdered by a hostile security service such as the Russia’s or Iran’s, a leading expert on espionage claimed last night.

Professor Anthony Glees suggests Mr Williams’ murder was the result of a professional hit rather than personal entanglements following revelations his decomposing body was found padlocked shut in a holdall.

And Prof Glees, head of the Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, called on the UK Government to make a statement over the murder of the GCHQ code-breaker – saying the speculation surrounding his death was a threat to national security.

An inquest yesterday heard a cause of death was yet to be established after Mr Williams, from Valley, near Holyhead on Anglesey, was discovered in the government flat on August 23.

Prof Glees said: “To me it smacks of a very professional killing job and that means the Russian secret service – they’ve murdered people in London before – or conceivably the Iranians.

“It looks more and more like an intelligence killing – what people call a ‘wet job’, meaning intelligence officers have murdered somebody and blood has flown.”

Prof Glees, 62, said Mr Williams may have been blackmailed into passing on secrets to a hostile intelligence service which wanted to leave no trace of any links back to its organisation.

The academic questioned how Mr Williams’ body lay undiscovered for so long in the bag – the 30-year-old was last seen eight days before his corpse was found.

The academic said when security services staff were off work for more than a day without explanation home visits were made.

“They don’t appear to have come round to see this chap. Why not? We can only speculate,” he said. “If they had been frantically looking for him, they would have found him.”

Police broke into the top floor flat in Alderney Street, Pimlico, central London, after Mr Williams failed to appear at work.

Prof Glees added: “Until we’re told, people will continue to speculate and that in itself undermines national security and that’s why the Government must now explain what they know about this person and why his body was not discovered for two weeks.

“That, to me, is a really chilling fact.”

At an inquest yesterday coroner Dr Paul Knapman revealed the corpse appeared to be in an “advanced state of decay”.

A postmortem examination carried out on August 25 failed to establish a cause of death and investigations were continuing, Westminster Coroner’s Court heard. The inquest was adjourned to September 8.

Dr Knapman will be kept informed of how the investigation is progressing and consider when to release the body so a funeral can take place.

There were no members of Mr Williams’ family in court.

Police have not said whether the last sighting of Mr Williams was made on CCTV or came from another source.

The investigation is being led by the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide Command with the security-vetted Counter Terror Command (SO15) also playing a lesser role in proceedings.

Officers are still trying to determine if he was suffocated, poisoned or if drugs or alcohol were present in his system.

A pathologist found Mr Williams, who in 2000 left a Cambridge University course in advanced mathematics having apparently already learnt all he could, was not stabbed or shot and there were no obvious signs of strangulation.

Mr Williams was days from completing a one-year secondment to the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in Vauxhall, London.

Secret services expert Gordon Thomas has said Mr Williams’ mathematical brain made him a vital tool in the fight against terrorism and cyber- warfare.

Mr Thomas, author of Inside British Intelligence: 100 years of MI5 and MI6, said the security services had played down his role so as not to alarm the world over his importance to anyone involved in his murder.

A Downing Street spokesperson said they could not comment on security matters.

The Metropolitan Police said all areas of Mr Williams’ life were being investigated – both personal and professional.

The University of Buckingham was ranked 27th out of 115 universities in The Times Higher Education Supplement’s ‘Table of Tables’ 2010.