Irish Independent : 'Dark arts' link in MI6 spy's death

Saturday, March 31, 2012

'Dark arts' link in MI6 spy's death

By Gordon Rayner in London | March 31, 2012

Gareth Williams, an MI6 spy found dead inside a locked holdall could have been killed by someone who specialised in "the dark arts of the secret services", a coroner has been told.

Mr Williams could not have locked the bag from the inside, meaning a "third party" must have done it, according to a lawyer representing his family.

Relatives believe his death in 2010 may have been linked to his work at MI6, where he had recently qualified for "operational deployment", and that fingerprints, DNA and other evidence was wiped from the scene in a deliberate cover up.

Police have always said they were keeping an open mind on whether the 31-year-old codebreaker was murdered or died as a result of an accident, possibly during a bizarre sex game.

But at an interim hearing ahead of the full inquest, Westminster Coroner's Court in London was told that a delay by MI6 in notifying police of his disappearance meant a post-mortem examination had been "ineffective".

A series of blunders, including a mix-up over DNA found at the scene, had also hampered the inquiry, Dr Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, was told.


Mr Williams, a maths genius who had worked for the government listening post GCHQ in Cheltenham since leaving university, was on secondment to MI6 when his body was found by police in a flat in Pimlico, west London, on August 23, 2010. He was discovered naked inside a red North Face holdall, which was padlocked on the outside and was in his bath.

Dr Wilcox said there were no injuries on the body to suggest he had been in a struggle.

She said it was possible he had got into the bag himself, and was considering ordering a demonstration at the full inquest involving a police expert getting into an identical bag.

Police have released two e-fits of a couple who said they were visiting Mr Williams's home.

Anthony O'Toole, representing the Williams family, said there was "a high probability that there was a third party present in the flat" at the time.

"The unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services, and perhaps evidence was removed from the scene post-mortem by an expert in those dark arts," he said.

The coroner said she would "follow the evidence" wherever it led.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)