Sky : MI6 Spy 'Died From Suffocation Or Poisoning'

Monday, April 30, 2012

MI6 Spy 'Died From Suffocation Or Poisoning'

April 30, 2012

Poisoning and asphyxiation are the "foremost contenders" in the sports bag death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams, an inquest has heard.

Mr Williams' body was found curled up naked in a padlocked holdall in the bath of his flat in Pimlico, central London, in August 2010.

Three pathologists who carried out post-mortem examinations on Mr Williams' body are giving evidence at the sixth day of the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court.

The first pathologist to give evidence, Dr Benjamin Swift, could not confirm the cause of Mr Williams' death.

He told the inquiry he did not want to speculate but said asphyxiation and poison were the two "foremost contenders".

Another pathologist, Richard Shepherd, told the inquest it was "more likely (Mr Williams) was alive when he entered the bag than that he was dead".

The evidence from pathologists comes after a bag expert told the inquest even Harry Houdini would have struggled to lock himself in the red North Face holdall.

Dr Swift said his post-mortem examination was hampered by levels of heat within the bag after radiators were turned on in Mr Williams' top floor flat in the middle of summer.

There were no injuries indicating Mr Williams had struggled to get out of the bag, the pathologist added.

He also said there were no signs on Mr Williams' fingertips that suggested he tried to get out the bag.

No tablet deposits were found in his system and there was no bruising consistent with strangulation.

The pathologist told the coroner there was no sign of significant traumatic injury, or sexual assault.

Dr Swift said he believed Mr Williams would have died shortly after his last known movements on August 15.

Dr Shepherd, who performed the third post-mortem examination, said there was "no suggestion" the spy's body had been manhandled into the holdall.

He said were Mr Williams to have been forced into it either alive or straight after he died, marks on his body would have been expected.

Dr Shepherd said: "I think it would have been a very difficult process to achieve, getting a body so neatly into a bag.

"Were he to be alive and struggling I would anticipate there to have been injuries".

Getting a body into a bag straight after death would be impeded by the "floppiness" of the corpse in this period, the court heard.