London Evening Stardard : End our agony: Plea of family of spy in the bag Gareth Williams

Friday, April 20, 2012

End our agony: Plea of family of spy in the bag Gareth Williams

Kiran Randhawa | April 20, 2012

The grieving family of the MI6 spy found dead in a locked bag broke their silence today as they called for their agony to be brought to an end.

Relatives of Gareth Williams said they still felt “very raw” and demanded to be told the truth about his death, which they are convinced was murder.

The GCHQ codebreaker’s naked and decomposing body was found in a holdall in the bath of his Pimlico flat in August 2010. The family hope his inquest, which begins on Monday, will help to end their suffering and at last give them some answers. More than 18 months on, police are still unable to explain what happened to the talented 31-year-old mathematician and recently revealed that their investigation has been hampered by blunders.

His aunt Judith Thomas, from the village of Trearddur Bay in Anglesey, North Wales, said: “We could fill newspapers with words to describe Gareth. You couldn’t find enough paper in this world to say how we feel about him. It’s a distressing time for us, especially with the inquest starting.”

Her husband Dafydd said: “Our feelings are still very raw. This was not a body in a bag — he was our nephew, a wonderful young man.” At a pre-inquest review, the family’s barrister told how they believe that he was murdered by a member of “some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services”.

Another uncle, William Hughes, 62, a councillor from Bodedern, said the family were keen to see the end of the five-day hearing at Westminster coroner’s court.

He said: “We just want all of this over and done with now.” The coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, is considering ordering a live demonstration at the inquest.

This may involve a police expert getting into an identical bag to see whether Mr Williams could have climbed into the holdall by himself.

Foreign Secretary William Hague this month ordered that key evidence must be heard in secret. He signed an order to prevent the disclosure of details about the spy’s work with both British and US secret services. The Foreign Office said: “It was right to seek a public interest immunity certificate. We would always seek to protect the identities of intelligence personnel and details of their operational work.”

Mr Williams is reported to have been sent to the National Security Agency — the Pentagon’s listening post — to work on encryption programmes that filter millions of communications every day.