IOL News (Zambia) : Spy police ‘gave special treatment to MI6’

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Spy police ‘gave special treatment to MI6’

By CHRIS GREENWOOD | Daily Mail | May 2, 2012

Scotland Yard was accused yesterday of undermining the inquiry into the death of spy Gareth Williams by giving MI6 special treatment.

On a day of drama at the inquest into Mr Williams’s death, a senior detective was accused of failing to be “completely impartial” when he dealt with potentially vital evidence.

And coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox raised deep concerns over the failure of police to seize all of 31-year-old Mr Williams’s possessions from his MI6 office.

Another detective was forced to admit he only made a “cursory search” of the office. Detective Constable Colin Hall was accused by barrister Anthony O’Toole, who represents the Williams family, of being “as helpful as a London pea souper”.

Mr O’Toole said: “If this had not been the Secret Intelligence Service [MI6] and it was the Kray twins or someone else you would have gone into this in far more detail wouldn’t you?”

The final hours of evidence at the inquest into Mr Williams’s mysterious death were dominated by claims that police failed to put MI6 under the spotlight. Officers did not interview spies directly and their questions were channelled through counter terrorism detectives, who only replied with general and anonymous summaries.

The codebreaker’s naked and decomposing body was found in a padlocked North Face holdall in the bath of his flat in Pimlico, Central London, in August 2010.

The coroner revealed that fresh evidence, including nine memory sticks and another North Face holdall, had been discovered. Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who is leading the investigation, told Westminster Coroner’s Court that she was only made aware yesterday of the memory sticks and an inventory of other items left at Mr Williams’s office.

And MI6 confirmed for the first time that his laptop was checked by spies before being handed to police.

Dr Wilcox said Detective Superintendent Michael Broster, who acted as a “firewall” between MI6 and police because of his high-level security clearance, had failed to pass on relevant information.

She said: “Don’t you think the murder inquiry and those responsible for it should have been investigating that evidence and not the person providing the evidence to you?

“If this had been information provided to you by any other agency it would have been seized by your officers, not left to those responsible to look at them and tell you what they contain, particularly given the public anxiety and concern around this death. You are not being completely impartial because an impartial investigator would have taken those exhibits and examined them himself.”

But Mr Broster insisted SIS has been “very helpful”. He added: “I have seen no information of relevance that somebody is involved. I am not saying a member of SIS is not involved, I don’t know.”

The inquest was adjourned until today when a verdict is expected.