Notes From The Borderland : Gareth Williams Timeline

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


By Larry O'Hara | June 26, 2012

Some facts below are contested, and others will in time become so. Nonetheless, a basic outline is essential for serious analysis.


March/April: Williams reportedly told both MI6 and GCHQ that he was being followed by two (white) men in their 40s, but was apparently not believed .

May: 'unconfirmed' (and disputed) sighting of Williams at Bar-Code gay bar, Vauxhall (near MI6 HQ)

June-July: Williams has dealings with two couples, who may (or may not) be one and the same

Couple 1, of Caucasian appearance, had brief words with him between four and six times a week in the Patisserie Valerie coffee-shop & similar locations near Holland Park Tube Station .

Couple 2, of Mediterranean appearance, visited his home on one occasion at least, and did not use the intercom system to gain entry to the flat itself: perhaps indicating they had a key .

11th August: returns from a holiday in the USA using Washington's Foster Dulles airport, reportedly spoke to his sister Ceri on the phone the same day . Also visited Patisserie Valerie .

13th August: went & returned alone from watching drag cabaret artiste Jimmy Woo at the Bistrotheque gay club Bethnal Green East London .

14th August: CCTV captures him entering Holland Park Station, wearing cream trousers, red shirt & carrying a white plastic bag at 2.59pm. According to Sian Lloyd-Jones, he rang her that day, and this is the last time she actually spoke to him .

15th August: images show him shopping at Harrods and nearby in Brompton Road SW7, at 2.30pm. Wearing the same clothes--giving the impression he may have stayed out overnight .

18th August: in one account attributed to Ceri, the last day he was known to be alive--they spoke by phone . Another version says, rather, she tried but was unable to contact him. To complicate matters further, it has been reported that Williams failed to attend a meeting at MI6 that day . If both things (contact with his sister/failing to attend Vauxhall Cross) are true, a day of great significance.

23rd August: c.4.40pm, Williams’ body found by two police officers, in the predominant account alerted by MI6 about non-attendance at work that day. The lesser known version is that Ceri alerting the police (and also MI6) led to them visiting. According to Lloyd-Jones, Ceri called her at 11am that day, worried she had got no answer from Gareth over the weekend . Both versions can be reconciled, but it is nonetheless still unclear as to whether the initiative to formally act on Williams missing came from MI6 themselves or they were prompted by Ceri. As will be seen later such 'cognitive dissonance' is of great importance in this case. Thus began the ongoing police investigation ‘Operation Finlayson’.

24th August: Welsh police call at the home of Gareth Williams' parents (who were on holiday) to inform them .

25th August: first inconclusive post mortem carried out by Dr Ben Swift .

26th August: family formally identify mortal remains .

1st September: inquest opened & adjourned

3rd September: the date on which Williams had been due to return to GCHQ (& possible promotion)

6th September: Met Police release selected CCTV images of Williams' movements, and appeal for a mysterious "Mediterranean couple" to come forward.

8th September: inquest re-opened, and then re-adjourned, pending further autopsy (a second had been performed by this time) and information.

26th September: memorial service held at Bethel chapel in Holyhead, attended by family members and Sir John Sawers (MI6 Chief)

28th October: third and to date final post-mortem, by Dr Dick Shepherd, again inconclusive as to cause of death. Police repeat appeal for information on the elusive 'Mediterranean couple'

29th October: start of a slew of stories linking Williams' death to claustrophilia/bondage/sado-masochism in the media.

22nd December: Met Police release highly distinctive e-fits of the elusive 'Mediterranean couple' and publicise Williams' visit to a gay club, browsing bondage web sites & so forth. Police admit he could not have climbed into the bag and locked it without help, and assert that he was therefore not alone in the flat.

26th December: interview given by Sian Lloyd-Jones to the Mail on Sunday puts the cat among the media/spook pigeons.


15th February: coroner Paul Knapman re-opens & adjourns the inquest, delayed again for further toxicological tests.

31st March: the date Knapman gave for a resumption of proceedings, came & went. As did he--retired, replaced by the experienced Dr Fiona Wilcox, who took up her new post before noon on April 1st.

5th April: exemplary 'Week in Week Out' documentary on the Williams case screened in Wales, greeted with deafening silence elsewhere.

25th June/13th August: Daily Mail claim inquest will resume in September (it didn’t)

23rd August Met Police tell BBC Wales this is “still an active investigation”


30th March: pre-inquest review begins, full inquest scheduled to follow three weeks later. Series of claims made by family (they suspect murder by practitioners of ‘dark arts’) and police: the Mediterranean couple no longer important, one DNA trace on body now stated to be from a forensic scientist involved in the investigation.

23rd April: inquest resumes [fuller chronology to follow].

1st May: Fiona Wilcox tells Detective Superintendent Michael Broster he was biased towards MI6, due to keeping evidence from Sebire.

2nd May: Dr Wilcox delivers a narrative verdict stating this was an “unnatural death…mediated by criminality”, and that on the balance of probability Gareth was “unlawfully killed”. Very brave, in the circumstances. Sebire, meanwhile, is “actively pursuing new leads”.