Thursday, May 03, 2012


Cyril Dixon | May 3, 2012

MI6 SPY Gareth Williams was “unlawfully killed” by a mystery intruder who locked him naked inside a holdall and placed it in his bath, an inquest ruled yesterday.
Westminster Coroner Fiona Wilcox concluded that another person was at the flat and played a part in his bizarre death.

And, in an unexpected verdict, she said it was a “legitimate line of inquiry” that the killer was a fellow member of the secret service.

At the end of the eight-day hearing, the family of Mr Williams attacked his MI6 bosses for making their ordeal worse with a “reluctance and failure” to investigate properly.

Meanwhile, spy chief Sir John Sawers admitted his staff’s failings and issued an unreserved public apology for adding to the family’s “anguish and suffering”.

Last night Dr Wilcox’s inquest verdict was interpreted as a veiled ruling that the 31-year-old codebreaker had been murdered.

She said: “I am satisfied so I am sure that a third party placed the bag in the bath and, on the balance of probabilities, locked the bag.

“The cause of his death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated. I am therefore satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Gareth was killed unlawfully.”

She also said the mystery would probably not be “satisfactorily explained” because of flaws in the 21-month investigation.

The inquest heard the body of Mr Williams was found at his flat in Pimlico, central London, a week after he failed to turn up for a meeting at MI6 headquarters.

He was left in the North Face sports holdall in the foetal position, with the bag locked from the outside and the padlock keys inside with him.

Police found £20,000 worth of women’s designer clothes, shoes and wigs inside the top-floor apartment – most of which were unworn, some still in their packaging.

Dr Wilcox ruled that Mr Williams must have been poisoned or suffocated before being left in the bag, then died from an excess of carbon dioxide in his blood.

In a statement, his parents Ian and Ellen, and sister Ceri Subbe, who attended the inquest throughout, attacked MI6 bungling.

It read: “To lose a son and a brother at any time is a tragedy. To lose a son and brother in such circumstances as have been outlined during the course of this inquest only confounds the tragedy.

“Our grief is exacerbated by the failure of his employers at MI6 to take even the most basic inquiries as to his whereabouts and welfare which any reasonable employer would have taken.”

The family, from Anglesey, North Wales, were “disappointed by the reluctance and failure of MI6” to make relevant information available.

They demanded to know how the Scotland Yard Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, planned to take the investigation into the death of Mr Williams forward after the mistakes revealed by the inquest.

MI6 said in a statement that Sir John Sawers recognised that the lack of urgency “contributed to the anguish and suffering of his family”, adding: “On behalf of the whole organisation, Sir John regrets this deeply and apologises unreservedly.”

Scotland Yard’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said the force had launched a review. Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, the officer leading the investigation, said the inquest had raised several new lines of inquiry and they would “actively pursue all the evidence”.