Scotsman : Gareth Williams death: Plans for DNA screenings as MI6 told to co-operate

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Gareth Williams death: Plans for DNA screenings as MI6 told to co-operate

May 9, 2012

MI6 was warned today it is not above the law as Britain’s top police officer revealed proposals for mass DNA screenings in the long-running Gareth Williams investigation.

• Met Police Commissioner angered by communication breakdown
• MI6 under scrutiny after Gareth Williams inquest
• DNA screenings planned on a ‘voluntary basis’

An independent forensics review will form a central part of fresh efforts to solve the 21-month inquiry into how the codebreaker’s body ended up in a holdall, Scotland Yard’s Commissioner said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe has also told detectives to deal directly with the intelligence agency in a break with protocol at the Metropolitan Police.

Homicide detectives were previously forced to involve counter-terror colleagues in a bid to obtain statements and evidence from MI6.

But Mr Hogan-Howe was angered by the “unacceptable” breakdown in communication which saw evidence fail to come to the senior investigating officer until last week at an inquest.

When asked what powers he had to ensure MI6 co-operated, he told reporters: “It’s the law.”

He said mass screening in the case would be carried out on a “voluntary” basis.

Mr Hogan-Howe said: “Of course it may well be that Gareth Williams’ death has nothing to do with employment. All we need to do is to make sure that all areas of his life were fully explored.”

Members of the secret services have come under fresh scrutiny after the coroner at last week’s inquest said she was sure a third party locked Mr Williams inside the red holdall in which his naked body was found in his bathtub.

Giving her verdict, Dr Fiona Wilcox said the 31-year-old was probably killed and it “remained a legitimate line of inquiry” that the secret services may have been involved in the death.