West End Extra : ‘Shy’ Gareth... Why the speculation won’t end

Friday, April 27, 2012

‘Shy’ Gareth... Why the speculation won’t end [scroll down]

by JOSH LOEB | April 27, 2012

THE discovery of Gareth Williams’s body in bizarre circumstances in a flat in a quiet Pimlico street in August 2010 sparked raging speculation and numerous news stories about his private life.

There has been discussion at the inquest over whether the flat in Alderney Street was a “safe house” for MI6, also known as SIS.

This has been denied by the security services, but yesterday Anthony O’Toole, the lawyer acting for Mr Williams’s family, suggested that there was evidence that “since 2003 the tenant of the flat has been the Secretary of State”– in other words that it had been occupied continuously by agents from MI6 or GCHQ since that year.

Mr O’Toole asked if it was “possible that it may have been known to certain parties as being the residence of SIS”.

It appears Mr Williams rarely strayed far from the area of Westminster in which he lived. He would go for walks around Belgravia and regularly shopped in Dover Street Market, Mayfair.

A collection of women’s clothing, estimated to have a total value of around £20,000, was found in Mr Williams’s flat.

Stephen Gale, a director of “operational analysis” at GCHQ at the time Mr Williams worked there, said the code-breaker had been given a pay rise shortly before moving to London, but he estimated the extremely expensive, high-end clothing would have taken up “a large chunk of this salary”.

Carol Kirtin, who worked in a store in Dover Street where Mr Williams had shopped, said in a witness statement: “He was very different to most male customers. He struck me as being shy and reserved.”