Telegraph : Inquest verdict due in MI6 spy Gareth Williams death riddle

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Inquest verdict due in MI6 spy Gareth Williams death riddle

A coroner investigating the holdall death mystery of MI6 spy Gareth Williams will deliver her verdict today.

May 2, 2012

Dr Fiona Wilcox is expected to announce a narrative or open conclusion after hearing seven days of inquest evidence.

Family members of the highflying codebreaker waited 21 months to find out how he ended up locked inside a bag in his bathroom.

But they were moved to tears as police, scientists and secret agents all said investigations had drawn a blank.

Dr Wilcox angrily attacked police and MI6 yesterday for evidence disclosure failures surrounding belongings left at Mr Williams' desk.

Nine computer memory sticks and a black bag were overlooked in the inquiry until the lead detective, Jackie Sebire, was made aware this week.

Ms Sebire said Scotland Yard will review lines of inquiry in its investigation in the wake of the inquest.

Added attention could turn on the expert mathematician's colleagues, she indicated.

Mr Williams, a 31-year-old fitness enthusiast originally from Anglesey, Wales, was found naked, curled up in a padlocked holdall in the bath of his flat in Pimlico, central London, on August 23 2010.

Pathologists said he would have suffocated within three minutes if he was alive when he got inside the 81cm x 48cm red North Face bag.

Poisoning and asphyxiation are the "foremost contenders" in solving the death riddle, they say.

Bag experts have said even Harry Houdini would have struggled to lock himself in the bag while Mr Williams' family lawyer has suggested "dark arts" of the secret services were responsible.

But police - who have recovered no evidence of a third party present when he died - have no suspects in their inquiry.

Ms Sebire says she remains convinced Mr Williams' death was suspicious.

"Obviously a lot of information has come out through the course of this inquest which we have not been party to," she said.

She said Mr Williams was a "brilliant young man who spent his entire life working for his country and was commended for it".

She added: "My strongest belief is that a third party was involved and I would ask people to search their consciences and come to us to find some resolutions to this case and some peace for his family."

In a bid to get to the bottom of the mystery, Westminster Coroner's Court heard a string of elaborate theories.

Several years before his death, Mr Williams tied himself to his bed and had to be cut free by his landlord and landlady.

It also emerged the bachelor stored £20,000 of women's clothes in his immaculate flat and was fascinated by drag queens.

Mr Williams was unhappy living in London at the time of his death and complained to family of "friction" at the intelligence agency.

He hated the post-work drinking culture and "flash car competitions" and was due to move back to the West Country a week after his naked body was discovered.

Secrecy surrounding his job had proved a stumbling block as Scotland Yard murder detectives were not able to speak to his MI6 colleagues directly.

The issue was raised yesterday as Dr Wilcox told counter-terror detective Michael Broster that he was offering "total non-sequitur" reasons for failing to pass on evidence to his homicide counterparts.

"I suggest that this means you have not been completely impartial in this case," she told him at Westminster Coroner's Court.

The coroner will hear legal submissions this morning before announcing her verdict.