ABC (Australia) : Mystery DNA found on dead spy's bag

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mystery DNA found on dead spy's bag

Reuters | April 25, 2012

Unknown pieces of DNA were found on a bag containing a British MI6 agent's corpse found in his London home in 2010, an inquest has heard.

The nude body of Gareth Williams, 31, was found folded in the foetal position inside a padlocked bag in the bathtub at his Pimlico flat, not far from the headquarters of MI6, the British foreign spying service where he worked.

Detective chief inspector Jackie Sebire, the woman handling the case, said police found blood believed to be that of Mr Williams as well as "small components of another contributor's DNA".

One of the central questions of the case, she said, was whether Mr Williams could have placed himself in the bag and locked the padlock or whether someone else was responsible.

"It is my opinion ... that a third party was involved in that padlock being locked and Gareth being placed in the bag," she said.

"No stone has been unturned. I've tried to do everything I can to understand what's happened."

Chief Inspector Sebire said the bag in which Mr Williams was found showed no signs of a struggle, such as torn netting or stitches, and keys to open the padlock were found inside the bag underneath his buttock.

Details revealed at the inquest have added to the mystery surrounding the circumstances of the macabre death.

Inside Mr Williams's flat at the time of his death was about $32,000 in high-end women's clothing.

Mr Williams's close friend Sian Jones said she did not think the clothing was unusual because he often gave her gifts of expensive clothing.

Ms Jones said she did not believe Mr Williams was a transvestite or gay.

"He was truly such a generous person and through the gifts that he's bought me in the past, it wouldn't surprise me if they were gifts," Ms Jones said.

She said that although Mr Williams did not have many other close friends, he was close to his colleagues at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the state eavesdropping service based in Cheltenham, north-west of London.

Mr Williams was on a three-year secondment from GCHQ to MI6 at the time of his death, and on Monday his sister Ceri Subbe testified he had complained of office tensions there.

Her comments added to speculation that MI6 was somehow involved in Mr Williams's death, a theory stoked by a lawyer for his family when he said last month that "a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services" might be responsible.

Ms Jones said her friend had left her a voicemail before his death in which he said he was moving back to Cheltenham.

Inside Mr Williams's apartment, police found a newspaper clipping entitled "The top five regrets of the dying", including not having the "courage to live the life true to myself" and working too hard.