This Is Gloucestershire : More than 40 spies could give evidence at Gareth Williams' inquest

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More than 40 spies could give evidence at Gareth Williams' inquest

February 16, 2011

UP to 40 spies could give evidence anonymously at the inquest into the mysterious death of GCHQ agent Gareth Williams, a coroner was told.

Yesterday Paul Knapman adjourned an inquiry into the 31-year-old's death as Scotland Yard detectives wait for the results of a fresh round of forensic tests.

Counter-terrorism officers have interviewed "in the region of 40" of the expert codebreaker's colleagues at GCHQ in Cheltenham as well as at MI6, Westminster Coroner's Court heard.

They have been passing on their findings to a team of investigators from the force's Homicide and Serious Crime Command who are responsible for the inquiry.

The inquest heard that some or all of them could give evidence about Mr Williams, whose body was found in a bag in the bath of his Pimlico flat last August.

He had been just days away from completing a one-year secondment from GCHQ to MI6 in the capital.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire admitted the likelihood of tracing a Mediterranean couple, who were seen at Mr Williams's home weeks before his death, was diminishing.

She said it was "very unusual" for two teams of officers to be working on a suspicious death inquiry, but said the victim's secretive occupation was the reason.

Speaking about forensic tests, she said: "We have done a phased submission of tests to the laboratory.

"We are still waiting for some outstanding tests that went out before Christmas."

After a 10-minute hearing, Dr Knapman adjourned the inquest until March 31, but said it was not known whether it will go ahead then.