Daily Mail : No more leaks about this spy Gareth Williams... just the truth

Sunday, December 26, 2010

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: No more leaks about this spy Gareth Williams... just the truth

By Mail On Sunday Comment | December 26, 2010

A spy dies in sad, complicated circumstances during the summer doldrums, causing grief for his family and triggering a welter of media speculation.

Five months later, despite intensive efforts by the police and security ser­vices, we are no nearer to discovering why the body of Gareth Williams ended up in a sports bag in an MI6 safehouse.

Lurid claims have been made about his lifestyle and alleged sexual proclivities – many traceable to sources in the investigation – only to be swiftly repudiated.

The aim appears to be to suggest that his demise was linked to his private life.

Now we are told that he was not a GCHQ analyst who spent his time geekily buried in his books: he confided to his (female) best friend that he was in the process of acquiring a second identity, which suggests that his professional life was far more hazardous than we have been led to believe.

As with the death of weapons inspector David Kelly – which has never been the subject of an inquest – the suspicion ­lingers that we are being denied the full story. The rash of conspiracy theories has been the inevitable result.

Next month there will be an inquest into the death of Gareth Williams, when we should be entitled to hear the truth about how and why he died. At least we hope that is what will happen. The recent record is not encouraging.

The hearing into the death of barrister Mark Saunders, killed by the police two years ago, was undermined by the fact that the police gave their evidence anonymously. They treated it so casually that some officers even incorporated song lyrics into their testimony.

Too often ‘security concerns’ are cited as a reason to limit access to the truth, undermining the basic constitutional principle that the Judiciary should operate separately from the Executive.

In the case of Mr Williams, we owe it to him, his family and his colleagues who risk their lives daily in the interests of our country, to hold a rigorous and fully independent inquest into his death.