Independent : Criminal charges a 'real possibility' in investigation into death of ‘unhappy’ spy Gareth Williams

Monday, April 23, 2012

Criminal charges a 'real possibility' in investigation into death of ‘unhappy’ spy Gareth Williams

John Hall | April 23, 2012

The inquest into the death of an 'unhappy' spy, whose body was found locked inside a sports holdall just a week before he was due to leave his job, today heard how police may still bring criminal charges in the ongoing investigation.

Gareth Williams, originally from Holyhead in Wales, had been due to leave London and return to the Government’s Communications Headquarters in Gloucestershire just a week after his naked, decomposing body was found crammed inside the padlocked bag on August 25 2010.

Williams, a 31-year-old codebreaker who begun his university studies while at secondary school, graduating from Bangor University with a first class degree in Mathematics aged 17, had requested to leave London because he hated the “rat race” and the “flash car competitions”, his sister Ceri Subbe told the inquest.

In her statement, Ms Subbe said her brother “disliked office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race. He even spoke of friction in the office.”

She added: “The job was not quite what he expected. He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with.”

Ms Subbe spoke after Metropolitan Police barrister Vincent Williams said criminal charges over Gareth Williams’ death were still a “real possibility”.

Lawyers for Scotland Yard tried to block the coroner from releasing to the media video footage which could be key to a prosecution.

He warned that a “careful line must be struck between open justice” at the inquest and the ongoing criminal investigation.

Explaining their objection to some material going into the public domain, a lawyer for Scotland Yard said: “It is because there is a live complex ongoing investigation taking place.”

The inquest heard how Williams had failed to turn up for an MI6 meeting on August 16 2010, a matter Ms Subbe raised with one of his colleagues.

Ms Subbe said: ”He is very conscientious. The person I spoke to agreed, and said Gareth was like a Swiss clock - very punctual, very efficient, and it was very unlike him not to attend a meeting.“

Although he was supposed to be on a three-year secondment in London, Williams’ bosses agreed for him leave on September 1 2010.

Ms Subbe accused MI6 of “dragging their feet” in approving his request to return to GCHQ, which was originally made in April 2010.

Asked about £20,000 of women's clothes found in Williams' flat after he died, she said it was ”not particularly“ surprising, adding their presence was ”possibly as a gift“.

Williams' sister said her brother was ”the most scrupulous risk-assessor“ she had ever known.

She said Williams, a keen cyclist, fell runner and mountaineer, and passionate about art, music and fashion, would turn back a few hundred yards from the summit of mountains if there was ”the hint of adverse weather conditions“.”Better to be safe than sorry,“ she added.

Ms Subbe said her brother never told her he was being followed or felt threatened in any way, adding: ”I cannot think as to why anybody would want to harm him.“

She said he was a private, very tidy man who never talked about his work.