Daily Mail : Party drug popular in clubbing and gay scene found in body of death riddle spy, inquest told

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Party drug popular in clubbing and gay scene found in body of death riddle spy, inquest told

* Gareth Williams had traces of alcohol and date rape drug GHB in his body
* But levels likely to have been created naturally after death, says toxicologist
* Court earlier told how illicit searches on MI6 files left him open to blackmail
* But senior manager says no evidence he was targeted by foreign powers
* She apologies for 'communication breakdown' which meant 31-year-old was not reported missing for a week
* Codebreaker's family walk out of hearing in tears as spy chief gives evidence
* Bosses 'didn't call police for four hours' after officially deeming him missing
* May have been in fragile state of mind as 'he had just been taken off a job'

By Chris Greenwood | April 26, 2012

An illegal party drug was found in tests on body-in-the-bag spy Gareth Williams, an inquest heard yesterday.

Scientists said their investigation revealed a small trace of GHB, a dangerous sedative popular in the clubbing and gay scene.

They also refused to rule out poisoning because Mr Williams’s body was so decomposed that a host of potential killing agents including cyanide, insulin and chloroform would have been undetectable.

The spy’s family fear the failure of MI6 bosses to raise the alarm for seven days after he went missing deprived police of opportunities to solve the riddle of his death in August 2010.

His body quickly began to decay after being padlocked inside a sports holdall in the bath of his Pimlico flat in central London.

His curled-up, naked body was found uninjured and he did not try to escape.

The fourth day of the inquest into his death also heard the high-flying code-breaker’s eccentric private life was no barrier to his secret work.

A senior MI6 officer suggested his superiors knew about his collection of women’s designer clothing, love of transvestite comedy and visits to bondage websites.

Speaking from behind a screen, a top official, known only as SIS F, said Mr Williams was known for his ‘world class’ work at GCHQ, the Government listening post.

The family’s lawyer Anthony O’Toole asked SIS F whether ‘revelations about Gareth’s private life might have rendered him unsuitable’ for MI6.

She replied: ‘There is no set template for what their lifestyle should be.

'Individuals have lifestyle and sexual choices and preferences which are perfectly legitimate.’

The inquest heard Mr Williams made a ‘small number’ of illicit searches on the MI6 database that could have left him vulnerable to blackmail by foreign agents.

But colleagues said there was no evidence he was targeted by a foreign power.

His family fear the ‘dark arts’ of the secret services may have been involved in his death or in a cover-up.

The MI6 officer apologised for the failure to act when punctual and reliable Mr Williams did not show for work.

Family members stormed out of the hearing sobbing after Mr O’Toole accused the secret service of ‘total disregard’ for his safety.

Denise Stanworth, a forensic scientist, said samples from Mr Williams’s body had been subjected to almost every test imaginable for evidence of suspicious substances and none was found.

Speaking about the party drug, she said she could not completely rule out that the spy had taken GHB but in her opinion it was unlikely.

She said it was far more likely to have been produced naturally following death.

The inquest continues.