West End Extra : Gareth Williams death - Cops hunt couple in MI6 mystery

Friday, February 18, 2011

Gareth Williams death - Cops hunt couple in MI6 mystery

also at Camden New Journal

Search goes on for pair seen leaving home of spy who was found dead in a locked holdall

by JOSH LOEB | February 18, 2011

THE detective leading the investigation into the death of an MI6 spy whose body was found in a padlocked holdall in his flat has said police are no closer to tracing the “Mediterranean couple” seen leaving his home.

Speaking on Tuesday at the inquest into the death of Gareth Williams, who was discovered on August 23 last year, DCI Jacqueline Sebire said the couple, spotted last summer emerging from the Pimlico flat, had not come forward and no fresh clues had been unearthed.

Asked by Westminster coroner Dr Paul Knapman if investigators had found any new leads, she replied: “Not at the present time regarding witnesses and we are still seeking to trace the Mediterranean couple.”

Dr Knapman asked: “It is getting less and less likely that anything is going to happen there?” DCI Sebire replied: “Perhaps.” Officers are still awaiting some forensic test results and members of the secret services may be granted anonymity if called to give evidence.

DCI Sebire said the murder squad were dealing with enquiries surrounding Mr Williams’s private life and her counterparts from the anti-terrorist unit were dealing with the intelligence services. She said they had interviewed around 40 of 31-year-old Mr Williams’s MI6 colleagues. Asked by the coroner whether it was unusual for aspects of a case to be kept separate in this way, DCI Sebire replied: “It’s an unusual case given his occupation.” And asked for her view on M16 operatives giving evidence to the inquest anonymously, she said: “I don’t see any problem with that.”

Coroner’s officer Barry May said Mr Williams’s family had said that they had “no problem whatsoever” with evidence being given anonymously in court.

The inquest was adjourned to March 31.

TMCnet : Coroner adjourns inquest into death of British spy

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coroner adjourns inquest into death of British spy

Associated Press | February 18, 2011

LONDON (AP) — A coroner said Tuesday it is increasingly unlikely that police will be able to track down a couple they want to interview about the death of a British codebreaker whose naked and decomposing body was found inside a padlocked sports bag.

Paul Knapman is overseeing an inquest into the death of Gareth Williams, who was discovered in the bathtub of his London home on Aug. 23. Police have made no arrests and are not certain how the 31–year–old employee of code–breaking agency GCHQ died.

At an inquest hearing Tuesday, Knapman said it was "less and less likely" that a man and woman seen at Williams' home weeks before his death would be found.

The couple, described as in Mediterranean appearance and aged between 20 and 30, were seen at the door of Williams' apartment block in June or July, and indicated to a witness that they had a key.

Knapman said police had to face the fact that "in six months or so they have not come forward" and no new clues have emerged.

Williams' death has spawned fevered speculation and conspiracy theories, as police have tried to determine whether it was linked to his work or to his personal life.

Detectives have said inquiries showed Williams had viewed bondage–related websites, and have suggested he may have died in a sex game gone wrong.

Security officials have downplayed suggestions that Williams' death was connected to his work. He was working on attachment to the foreign spy service, MI6, when he died.

Toxicology tests found no traces of drugs or poisons that may have led to his death. Experts consulted by police said Williams could not have locked himself inside the bag — which was fastened with a padlock — and could have survived for only 30 minutes inside before suffocating.

In Britain, inquests must be held any time someone dies unexpectedly, violently or from unknown causes. The goal is to determine the cause rather than to affix blame.

Knapman said about 40 of Williams' fellow spies had been interviewed by police and could be called to give evidence anonymously at the inquest.

He adjourned the hearings until March 31, so police can get results from more forensic tests.