Holyhead and Anglesey Mail : Spy Gareth Williams probably killed unlawfully but death remains a mystery

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Spy Gareth Williams probably killed unlawfully but death remains a mystery

by Owen R Hughes, Bangor and Anglesey Mail | May 9, 2012

THE family of a spy “probably killed unlawfully” said their “grief is exacerbated” by MI6’s failure to raise the alarm after he went missing.

In a statement read out by their solicitor after the inquest, the family of Gareth Williams, from Valley, said they were “extremely disappointed” at the secret services’ “reluctance and failure” to make relevant information available to the inquiry.

They also attacked the “total inadequacies” of the inquiry by Metropolitan Police counter-terror branch SO15 into MI6 and called on Scotland Yard’s chief to look into how the investigation would proceed in light of this.

Reading the statement on behalf of the 31 year old’s parents, Ian and Ellen Williams, and sister Ceri Subbe, lawyer Robyn Williams said: “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 compounds the tragedy.
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“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.

“We are also extremely disappointed at the reluctance and failure of MI6 to make available relevant information.”

They described the brilliant code-breaker as a “special and adored son and brother” who they missed “every single day”.

Gareth’s naked body was found in a padlocked bag in the bath at his flat in London. He was thought to have been there a week.

He had been seconded to work at the M16 headquarters from GCHQ, the government listening station in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

At the inquest into his death last week, coroner Fiona Wilcox said his death may forever remain a mystery despite a 21 month police probe plagued by blunders.

In a narrative verdict, she said: “The cause of his death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated. I am therefore satisfied that on the balance of probabilities that Gareth was killed unlawfully.”

Mr Williams, of Valley, Anglesey, was suffocated by carbon dioxide, possibly as an onset of a short-acting poison, the coroner suggested.

MI6 apologised for failures in raising the alarm about his disappearance earlier as Dr Wilcox said several factors hampered inquiries. Breakdowns in communication by her own coroner’s office in ordering a second post-mortem examination, a DNA mix-up by forensics and late submission of evidence by MI6 to police were singled out.

Dr Wilcox also questioned why details of Mr Williams’s private life – that heaped embarrassment on his family – were leaked to the press.

She found it “highly unlikely” that Mr Williams got inside his North Face holdall alone, saying: “If Gareth had been carrying out some kind of peculiar experiment, he wouldn’t care if he left any foot or fingerprints.”