This Is London : Police to take DNA from 50 MI6 agents who may have visited ‘spy in bag’ Gareth Williams

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Police to take DNA from 50 MI6 agents who may have visited ‘spy in bag’ Gareth Williams

Justin Davenport and Paul Cheston | May 3, 2012

Scotland Yard is to take further DNA and fingerprint samples from MI6 colleagues of Gareth Williams, who was found dead in a bag at his flat.

Detectives said they are pursuing at least three leads and will take samples from anyone who might have entered the flat in Pimlico, where the spy’s naked body was discovered in the padlocked North Face holdall in a bath in August 2010.

One source close to the investigation said: “We will follow the evidence and we will not be taking no for an answer.”

Officers suspect that a member of the security services working for either MI6 or GCHQ was with Mr Williams in the flat on the night he died.

Efforts will focus on traces of DNA left on a toggle of the bag and DNA found on a hand towel — and a mobile telephone which had been re-set to factory settings an hour and a half before Mr Williams was last known to have used his computer.

Forensic science experts who helped with the DNA breakthrough in the Stephen Lawrence investigation that led to two murder convictions are now examining the items.

So far 15 of Mr Williams’s colleagues at GCHQ and MI6 have voluntarily provided DNA and fingerprints to police.

A coroner ruled yesterday that the 31-year-old spy from Anglesey was “probably unlawfully killed”.

In a narrative verdict at Westminster coroner’s court, Dr Fiona Wilcox said the cause of his death was unnatural and likely to have been “criminally mediated”.

She said it was a legitimate line of inquiry that the GCHQ codebreaker — who was on secondment to MI6 — could have been killed by a colleague because he only let trusted people into his home.

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who is leading the investigation, appealed to people who “knew Gareth or who had contact with him to search their conscience” and come forward with information.

Scotland Yard has launched a review of the handling of the evidence after it emerged that a senior counter terrorism officer did not tell colleagues investigating the death about items found in Mr Williams’s desk at MI6 headquarters.

The inquest heard how Detective Superintendent Mick Broster, who acted as the liaison between homicide officers and MI6, did not reveal that nine memory sticks and a holdall similar to the one in which the spy’s naked body was found, had been discovered at his desk.

Anyone with information is asked to ring 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.