Wednesday, April 25, 2012


By Cyril Dixon | April 25, 2012

A BRIGHT orange wig and items of make-up were in the flat of the MI6 officer found dead in a sports bag, an inquest heard yesterday.

The hearing was also told unidentified DNA had been found on the holdall in which the naked body of Gareth Williams was discovered.

Forensic officers found two spots of DNA on the bag, which had been secured with a padlock.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire said it would be “very difficult” for Mr Williams to have locked himself in the holdall, which was found in his bath in August 2010.

She told Westminster coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox the bag was zipped up and padlocked, with the keys inside, next to the 31-year-old’s body.

DCI Sebire added that the red North Face holdall was not torn inside and there no marks on Mr Williams’s fingers to suggest he tried to claw his way out.

She said that, had he manoeuvred himself into the bag, there would have been handprints on the bathroom wall – but there were none.

Giving evidence on the second day of the London inquest, she said she was surprised to find his duvet on the floor of the “incredibly tidy” flat.

“My thought or my opinion since I went into the scene is that a third party had been involved in the death or by putting the body in the bag,” she added.

The hearing was given a video tour of the flat in Pimlico, central London, where Mr Williams stayed during his three-year secondment to MI6 from GCHQ intelligence base in Cheltenham.

DCI Sebire talked the coroner through the film, which showed his personal effects and clothes dotted about immaculately-clean rooms.

Mr Williams’s parents Ellen and Ian left the court when the coroner warned them the content would be upsetting.

“He was in the foetal position,” the officer said. “His legs were folded up towards his chest, his arms were bent slightly inwards. His face was very calm. His hands were resting on his chest.”

The DNA spots were on the padlock and a toggle of the holdall’s zip, while a spot of someone else’s blood was found in the communal hallway.

On the police video, a bright orange woman’s wig could be seen hung on the back of a chair, while a Jemma Kidd lipstick and matt foundation from Harvey Nichols were left on a sofa.

DCI Sebire said a stocking cap to be worn under the wig was on the living room table, and other expensive women’s hairpieces were found elsewhere in the flat, mostly still in their wrapping.

Women’s clothing worth £20,000 was discovered in the flat, including 26 pairs of women’s shoes – one pair alone cost £1,000.

The footage showed boxes with the fashion footwear still inside, and styles included black patent leather high-heel boots and designs by Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin.

Most of the shoes were size six or six-and-a-half, which would have fitted Mr Williams’s size six feet, and many were stuffed into North Face holdalls in the spare bedroom.

“These were very high value shoes in pristine condition; they had obviously been looked after,” said DCI Sebire.

She added that a newspaper article detailing five things “we regret when we are on our deathbed”, was cut out and left under a book on the table. The list included the wish to have “courage to express feelings”.

Sian Jones, Mr Williams’s childhood sweetheart from their schooldays in North Wales, denied he was a transvestite, claiming he would have told her. She said the women’s clothes were probably gifts for his sister, Ceri Subbe.

Asked by the coroner if the intelligence officer would have been able to tell her of any interest in transvestism, Ms Jones replied: “Most definitely. We both shared things that were quite in-depth and personal, and I think he would have confided in me, I wouldn’t have judged him.”

The inquest was shown CCTV images of Mr Williams’s final days, after he returned from a working trip to the United States and spent a few days relaxing in London.

He is pictured in the period before his absence was noticed on August 16, 2010, trailing around exclusive west London stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Describing the footage, DCI Sebire and Dr Wilcox agreed he looked relaxed and that nobody appeared to be following him.

The inquest has heard that he asked to leave MI6 after complaining of “friction” at its Vauxhall Cross headquarters. Mrs Subbe said he did not like the culture of “flash car competitions and the rat race” and wanted to return to GCHQ.

Mr Williams had missed a meeting on August 16 and his body was discovered on August 23. The hearing continues.