Daily Post : MI6 spy death probe continues

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

MI6 spy death probe continues

by Dan Beavan, DPW West | August 24, 2011

POLICE are still investigating the death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams – a year after his body was found locked in a sports bag in his flat.

Codebreaker Mr Williams, 31, from Valley, Anglesey, was discovered at his central London flat 12 months ago.

Mystery still surrounds the death with detectives saying his private life remains the main focus of the investigation, which they say is active.

Twelve months on Mr Williams' death remains suspicious and unexplained.

A date for his inquest has still not been set although sources say it will take place before Christmas and last several weeks.

Former Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern pupil Mr Williams was a gifted mathematician who attained a first class degree in maths aged just 17.

He began work at the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham before being seconded to MI6 for a year.

BBC : Gareth Williams MI6 death: Inquiry is active, say Met

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gareth Williams MI6 death: Inquiry is active, say Met
[and here]

August 23, 2011

Metropolitan Police say they are still investigating the death of MI6 officer Gareth Williams, a year after his body was found locked in a bag in his bath.

Mr Williams, 31, originally from Holyhead, Anglesey, was discovered at his central London flat a year ago.

Mystery still surrounds the death, and detectives have said that the key lay in his private life.

A police spokesman said the inquiry into the code-breaker's death was "still an active investigation".

The Westminster coroner's office said: "No date has yet been arranged for the inquest into his death."

A spokesman added: "The coroner is still awaiting the completion of the necessary paperwork".

Gifted mathematician

Mr Williams, a gifted mathematician who was a pupil at Bodedern secondary school, graduated with a first class degree in maths at just 17.

His parents, Ian and Ellen, live in Valley, Anglesey, while his father works at Wylfa nuclear power station. His grandmother and grandfather lived in Holyhead.

Mr Williams began work at the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham before being seconded to MI6.

His disappearance last August was reported by colleagues who said they had not seen him for some time.

When officers broke into his flat they found Mr Williams' body in a sports bag, as well as his mobile phone and several SIM cards.

The authorities played down any speculation that his death was linked to his line of work at MI6.

A post-mortem examination was unable to provide a cause of death and further tests are to take place.

A couple sought in connection with the death of an MI6 officer may never be traced, police have conceded.

Gareth Williams, 31, from Holyhead on Anglesey, north Wales, was found dead in a padlocked holdall in his central London flat in August.

The death remains suspicious and unexplained with no cause found.

Police have released e-fit images of a couple of Mediterranean appearance seen at his flats before he died, but the coroner has been told they would be unlikely to be traced.

Twelve months on Mr Williams' death remains suspicious and unexplained with no cause found.

After his body was found police revealed Mr Williams had £15,000 of designer women's clothes in his flat. Press speculation centred on him dying during what some newspapers called a "bizarre sex game gone wrong".

But last April Mr Williams' close friend Sian Lloyd-Jones urged police to broaden their inquiry, denying speculation he was gay or a cross-dresser.

Wales Online : Government’s response to Welsh spy’s mysterious death a ‘disgrace’

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Government’s response to Welsh spy’s mysterious death a ‘disgrace’

by Darren Devine, Wales On Sunday | August 21, 2011

A SECURITY expert has slammed the Government’s “disgraceful” response to the death of a Welsh spy whose body was found in a holdall one year ago.

Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the discovery of the naked body of GCHQ code breaker and MI6 agent Gareth Williams in his Pimlico flat. He had been padlocked inside a red North Face holdall, in an empty bath.

The case continues to baffle the Met Police and has left his Anglesey family facing a torrent of salacious tabloid headlines and an agonising 12-month wait for answers.

But Security services expert Professor Anthony Glees is among those who believe Williams’ reported fondness for gay clubs, bondage websites and women’s clothing is just a smokescreen.

He believes the spy was killed by a foreign security service and says the failure of British officials to answer questions about the agent’s demise is a “disgrace”.

Professor Glees, head of the Buckingham University Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: “It’s disgraceful both with Gareth Williams’ family in mind, who must be feeling absolutely terrible, but also with my own concern, which is with our national security.

“And I’m very surprised we’ve not heard from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, for example, the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, because I think there’s a very serious national security issue here. In fact there are several very serious national security issues here.”

Professor Glees said his contacts, who have been advising the Metropolitan Police over the death, maintain there’s no longer any suggestion it is sex-related.

He added: “I would continue to suggest that if Gareth was not killed as a result of a sex crime or sex game gone wrong – and nobody has presented any serious evidence of this – then this must be the work of a hostile intelligence service.

“What I would add, and this comes from my Whitehall sources, is that there’s been an almost 50% increase in hostile intelligence activity, not only by Russia, but also by China in the last 12 months.”

Reports have suggested cars registered to the Russian Embassy were spotted near Williams’ flat just days before his body was discovered on August 23.

Professor Glees said Williams was a mid-ranking operative whose work on developing computer programmes to infiltrate the networks of countries like Iran, China and Russia would have made him a target. Reports last year also claimed Williams’ eavesdropping work had helped thwart co-ordinated al-Qaeda gun rampages on the streets of London, Paris and Berlin just weeks before his death.

He had also made several trips to Afghanistan as one of a 10-strong team of specialists from GCHQ, the Government’s listening post and the NSA, the US equivalent.

But whatever the significance of his security services role, Professor Glees said while many questions continue to go unanswered about his death Williams’ family are denied closure.

“There are so many question marks hanging over this man. Was he loyal, was he disloyal? Was he gay? Had he given the right information about himself to GCHQ and MI6?”

But not all security experts are convinced there’s more to the death than meets the eye.

Some like Paul Moorcraft, director of the Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis, believe the answers lie in Williams’ sex life. One theory he strongly discounts is that Williams was murdered by British intelligence colleagues for leaking information to our enemies.

“Whenever you get a mysterious death you get all sorts of conspiracies,” he said.

“Looking back at it I would have thought it probably was a sexual incident that went wrong – either with somebody else or on his own.

“He’d been on a couple of trips overseas so he wasn’t just a computer geek. But he was pretty junior and there was no reason to knock him off.”

Moorcraft said other operatives have even made revelations about the work of GCHQ without paying with their lives.

Katharine Gun, a former translator for GCHQ, was accused of leaking a memo to a newspaper on an alleged American “dirty tricks” campaign to spy on UN delegates ahead of the Iraq war.

An attempt to prosecute her through the courts collapsed.

Professor Moorcraft added: “There’s been a whole series of whistleblowers at GCHQ and nothing has happened to them. With previous whistleblowers who have actually done things it’s been formal procedures so why should they knock-off this one fairly low-ranking guy?”

Gareth’s uncle, Anglesey councillor William Hughes, declined to comment and said Gareth’s parents Ian and Ellen wanted to be “left alone”.

Express : Inquest on naked spy to go ahead

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Inquest on naked spy to go ahead

By James Murray | August 21, 2011

THE inquest into the bizarre death of spy Gareth Williams will go ahead before Christmas without a jury and is set to last a few weeks, the Sunday Express has learned.

The 31-year-old codebreaker was found naked inside a padlocked bag in the bath of his London flat a year ago.

He was working for foreign security service M16 in London while on secondment from the Government GCHQ listening post in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

It quickly emerged bachelor Mr Williams may have led a double life as he had £15,000 of expensive women’s clothing in his wardrobe and he had visited a drag cabaret show shortly before his death.

Reports that more than 40 intelligence chiefs would be called to give evidence have been played down and it is expected 12 spy chiefs will attend to explain the background to the case. They may ask the coroner to hear some of the evidence in secret.

So far the security services have given very little information about Mr Williams or his role.

Scotland Yard has dismissed as “rubbish” suggestions of any Russian involvement.

Daily Mail : Russian Embassy car spotted near 'body in bag' spy's home days before he was murdered

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Russian Embassy car spotted near 'body in bag' spy's home days before he was murdered

By Robert Verkaik | August 13, 2011

Cars registered to the Russian Embassy were spotted near the home of a British spy just days before his body was discovered in a locked holdall at his London flat.

The unexplained presence of Russian diplomats in the area will add to suspicions that the MI6 officer was killed because of his work.

Gareth Williams is believed to have been working on spy technology tracking the movements of Russian money into Europe.

The 31-year-old was last seen alive on August 15 last year – the same day a Kremlin car was identified near the officer’s Pimlico flat.

In the days before Mr Williams’s death, two cars with Russian diplomatic number plates were seen parked or driving close to his flat in Pimlico, Central London.

The vehicles’ details were logged by a former KGB agent who fled to London 12 years ago after defecting to the West and who lives near Mr Williams’s former home.

The 51-year-old, trained in surveillance and counter-surveillance, believes that the sudden appearance of the cars raises immediate suspicions.

He said: ‘I still have to worry about my own security, so when I saw these cars I was very concerned and at the time made a detailed note of each of the sightings. I hadn’t seen any Russian Embassy cars in the area before this and I haven’t seen any since.’

The former agent, who has just realised how important his sightings are after reading about the case, observed the vehicles on his daily walk to local shops which took him past the flat.

On August 15 the agent logged a dark blue BMW 3 Series bearing the diplomatic number plate 251D198 seen being driven slowly along a road 50 yards from the flat. Mr Williams’s naked body was finally discovered eight days later locked inside a large holdall in the bath at his top-floor flat.

CCTV images show him entering Holland Park Underground station at 3pm on August 14, three days after he returned from a holiday in the US, and he was spotted shopping in the West End and Knightsbridge.

Earlier, around midday on August 12, the Russian car had been logged by the former agent, parked close to the junction with the road where Mr Williams lived, with the driver inside and the engine running.

The Russian Embassy, where the car is based, is four miles away at Kensington Gardens.

The following day, the agent noticed another Russian diplomatic car, a blue BMW 3 Series bearing the diplomatic number plate 251D306.

This time the car was spotted in the multi-storey car park directly behind Mr Williams’s flat.

The agent saw the driver clearly and described him as male and aged 35 to 45 with a brown moustache.

He added: ‘I saw him because he had to get out of the car to pay for a ticket. To my mind, these suspicious appearances show that the Russians were working in the area and were keeping someone under close surveillance.’

It has since been claimed that Mr Williams, who was on secondment to MI6 from the Government’s eavesdropping centre GCHQ, was working on equipment that tracked the flow of money from Russia to Europe.

Further suspicions that Mr Williams’s death is linked to Russia were raised when it emerged that his former flat is owned by private company New Rodina.

In Russian, ‘rodina’ means ‘motherland’ and the name The Rodina Society was used as a cover operation for KGB activity in the West during the Cold War.

The inquest into Mr Williams’s death – which sparked several outlandish conspiracy theories – resumes next month.

Up to 40 spies questioned by police could give evidence anonymously. No one has been arrested in connection with Mr Williams’s death.

Post-mortem tests have failed to determine how he died and detectives say it would have been impossible for him to lock himself in the bag. No evidence of drugs, alcohol or poison has been found.

A spokeswoman for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency said: ‘We are unable to help with identifying any cars with diplomatic number plates.’

A Whitehall source said police were investigating the case.

The Russian Embassy declined to respond.