Daily Mail : Spy's family demand the truth: Relatives of dead MI6 man demand body for independent tests

Friday, September 10, 2010

Spy's family demand the truth: Relatives of dead MI6 man demand body for independent tests

By Sam Greenhill and Charlotte Gill | September 10, 2010

The family of murdered MI6 spy Gareth Williams have demanded his body back, it emerged last night.

They would like to commission their own post-mortem examination, it is understood.

It is a clear sign they are rapidly running out of patience with the police investigation into his death.

The coroner in charge of the case has consistently refused to release the codebreaker's body because detectives have still to discover exactly how he died.

But this delay is infuriating the brilliant mathematician's relatives in North Wales.

They have not been able to hold a funeral and are equally unhappy about the apparent lack of progress into explaining what happened to the 31-year-old.

Yesterday a source close to the family said: 'It is becoming very frustrating trying to get to the bottom of whatever has happened. 'There are just so many things we still don't know.

'We have made it clear to the police that we want the body back as soon as possible.'

It is more than three weeks since detectives began investigating the murder.

Mr Williams's naked body was found in a sports bag in the bath of his top-floor London flat near MI6 headquarters on August 23.

There were no obvious signs of an intruder or clues to how he died and it was later revealed the bag had been padlocked.

Police have announced that the first postmortem examination, carried out two days after Mr Williams's body was found, and toxicology tests were inconclusive.

There was no outward sign that he met a violent death and there was no trace of drugs or alcohol in his blood.

Intriguingly, a further 'examination of the body' was undertaken last week but investigators have refused to reveal why the procedure was carried out or what it revealed.

Pathologists have been searching for signs of whether a rare drug or poison was used.

Last Monday, in their first public appeal, police announced they were seeking a man and a woman, both of Mediterranean appearance, who called at No. 36 Alderney Street in June or July, late one evening, and were let into the communal front door.

Yesterday police renewed their appeal, saying: 'They are yet to contact police and officers are still keen for this couple to come forward.'

On Wednesday the coroner, Dr Paul Knapman, and detectives met behind closed doors to discuss the progress of the case.

Mystery surrounds what was discussed and no announcement has been made for when the next hearing will take place.

But it is known a decision was taken not to release the body to the family. A security source revealed: 'The family are not happy with the way it was going. All their questions are basically being met with one of two answers: that the information is unknown or not disclosable.

'Eventually, they said that if they were not going to be given answers, then they wanted to have his body back.

'They wanted to have their own tests carried out.'

The source said the family was considering paying for an independent pathologist to conduct an examination.

Detectives are struggling to piece together what happened to Mr Williams between the last time he was seen, captured on CCTV on August 15 shopping at Harrods, and eight days later when he was found.

Uniformed officers discovered his body that afternoon after being alerted by friends, family and MI6 that he was missing and not responding to calls.

Mr Williams worked for the Government's eavesdropping service GCHQ. He was an expert on ciphers and had been on a secondment to MI6 in London.

He had just returned from the U.S, where police said he had been on holiday, coming back to Britain on August 11.

Mr Williams lived for his job and was a cycling fanatic, regularly riding with his father around Anglesey and in local competitions with his club.

His parents, Ian, an engineer at Wylfa power station, and Ellen, who worked in education, live in a bungalow in Holyhead, Anglesey.

They have been horrified at unsavoury claims about their bachelor son's supposedly wild homosexual lifestyle.

They feared lurid allegations surrounding his private life, since denied, were planted as part of a 'dirty tricks' campaign.

Last night Scotland Yard said: 'We have got a family liaison officer working very closely with the family.'

San Francisco Examiner : Was British code-breaker assassinated?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Was British code-breaker assassinated?

By Barbara Hollingsworth, Local Opinion Editor | September 10, 2010

Jeff Stein, the Washington Post’s SpyTalk blogger, says that unnamed “U.S. intelligence officials” have downplayed the possibility that British code-breaker Gareth Williams – who worked closely with the U.S. National Security Agency at Fort Meade and American intelligence officials in Kabul – was assassinated.

But back in London, where the naked, decomposing body of the 31-year-old “math genius” was found August 23 in a padlocked duffel bag in the bathroom of an apartment kept as a “safe house” by Britain’s M16, police are not so sure. “Murder detectives say they are still looking at whether Gareth Williams may have been killed by a foreign intelligence agency seeking to stop his work on intercepting messages and code-breaking,” according to the Daily Telegraph.

Williams was “on loan” to M16 from Britain’s top-secret Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and reportedly played a “key role” overseeing Echelon, a secret electronic network that links satellites and super computers in Britain, the U.S. and other Western allies that eavesdrop on terrorist networks.

There was no sign of forced entry at the Cambridge-educated mathematician’s Pimlico address. William Hughes said his nephew had recently returned from a summer visit to the U.S. (presumably to NSA). And according to the Daily Mail, investigators were also looking for Williams’ personally configured laptop, which is reportedly still missing.

Misinformation released at the time Williams’ body was discovered, including initial rumors that he had been stabbed, were later refuted. British officials also backed away from earlier reports that “bondage gear, gay contact magazines and male escorts’ phone numbers” were found at the scene.

The cause of death has still not been established. Toxicology tests found no alcohol or recreational drugs in Williams’ system. Scotland Yard called the death “suspicious and unexplained,” and announced it was looking for a “young Mediterranean couple” who visited Williams a month or two ago, but haven’t been seen since.

Detective Chief Inspector Jacqueline Sebire of London’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command, who is leading the investigation into Williams’ murder, told reporters: “This remains a complex unexplained death enquiry.”

So ruling out the possibility that Williams was assassinated by a foreign intelligence agency would seem to be slightly premature.