London Evening Stardard : End our agony: Plea of family of spy in the bag Gareth Williams

Friday, April 20, 2012

End our agony: Plea of family of spy in the bag Gareth Williams

Kiran Randhawa | April 20, 2012

The grieving family of the MI6 spy found dead in a locked bag broke their silence today as they called for their agony to be brought to an end.

Relatives of Gareth Williams said they still felt “very raw” and demanded to be told the truth about his death, which they are convinced was murder.

The GCHQ codebreaker’s naked and decomposing body was found in a holdall in the bath of his Pimlico flat in August 2010. The family hope his inquest, which begins on Monday, will help to end their suffering and at last give them some answers. More than 18 months on, police are still unable to explain what happened to the talented 31-year-old mathematician and recently revealed that their investigation has been hampered by blunders.

His aunt Judith Thomas, from the village of Trearddur Bay in Anglesey, North Wales, said: “We could fill newspapers with words to describe Gareth. You couldn’t find enough paper in this world to say how we feel about him. It’s a distressing time for us, especially with the inquest starting.”

Her husband Dafydd said: “Our feelings are still very raw. This was not a body in a bag — he was our nephew, a wonderful young man.” At a pre-inquest review, the family’s barrister told how they believe that he was murdered by a member of “some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services”.

Another uncle, William Hughes, 62, a councillor from Bodedern, said the family were keen to see the end of the five-day hearing at Westminster coroner’s court.

He said: “We just want all of this over and done with now.” The coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, is considering ordering a live demonstration at the inquest.

This may involve a police expert getting into an identical bag to see whether Mr Williams could have climbed into the holdall by himself.

Foreign Secretary William Hague this month ordered that key evidence must be heard in secret. He signed an order to prevent the disclosure of details about the spy’s work with both British and US secret services. The Foreign Office said: “It was right to seek a public interest immunity certificate. We would always seek to protect the identities of intelligence personnel and details of their operational work.”

Mr Williams is reported to have been sent to the National Security Agency — the Pentagon’s listening post — to work on encryption programmes that filter millions of communications every day.

This Is London : Heartbreak and conspiracy theories in home village of the spy-in-the bag

Friday, April 20, 2012

Heartbreak and conspiracy theories in home village of the spy-in-the bag

‘This is David Kelly all over again — a cover-up. There was no evidence... It doesn’t add up’ -- Schoolfriend David Jones

Kiran Randhawa | April 20, 2012

The inhabitants of Holyhead and surrounding villages are well-versed in the various theories about Gareth Williams’s mysterious death.

One thing they — as well as those closer to him — are resigned to, however, is never knowing the truth.

Friends of the MI6 spy, who grew up in the remote Welsh outpost, said they fear he will become “another victim” of a “cover-up” by British authorities, likening his death to that of weapons expert David Kelly.

They are less than optimistic that next week’s inquest, or any other exhaustive inquiry, will yield answers to bring his family some sense of peace.

Since their son’s body was found crammed into a sports bag, Ian and Ellen Williams have withdrawn from the local community. Mr Williams, a keen runner who was often out jogging prior to the tragedy, is rarely seen. But it appears that the electrical engineer, who works at the local Wylfa nuclear power station, is coping better than his wife.

Mrs Williams rarely leaves the modest family bungalow in the village of Valley and has not worked since her son’s death.

Gareth Williams’s elder sister Ceri Subbe, a married physiotherapist who lives in Chester, was described by friends as “sensitive” and “badly damaged” by his death. She is among 30 witnesses, including MI6 officers, due to give evidence at the inquest.

Mr Williams’s grandfather John Owen, who lives locally and recently had heart surgery, was “traumatised” by the tragedy. Trefor Lloyd Hughes, 64, a councillor and close friend of the family said: “They are such kind people. This has shocked them to the core. They really are suffering.”

Building company boss Keith Thompson, 64, a cycling friend of Gareth Williams from Trearddur Bay, said: “We would like to hear the truth next week but we won’t get it. This will be another David Kelly. It’s a cover-up and I believe it is possible our secret services were involved.”

Mr Thompson used to run Holyhead Cycling Club and had known the GCHQ codebreaker since he was 14, when he joined. Mr Williams, from a “very athletic” family, excelled at the sport. “The family is devastated,” said Mr Thompson. “His mother in particular has taken it badly. Her life is ruined. It has hit her the hardest. They were all very close. They tell you that they are just living and coping day by day. I don’t think the family will ever get justice or peace.”

He said he last saw Mr Williams in May 2010, three months before his death, when he returned home for a cycle race.

David Jones, 31, who went to school with Mr Williams, said: “This is David Kelly all over again. A cover-up. There was no evidence at the scene, it just doesn’t add up.”

Mr Williams was considered a child prodigy by the locals. He did his A-levels at 14 and went to study maths at Bangor University at 15. After graduating with a first at 17, he studied for a PhD in computer science at the University of Manchester, going on to Cambridge for a postgraduate certificate in advanced maths before GCHQ approached him in 2001. He was on secondment to MI6 when police found him dead at his Pimlico flat in August 2010.

At a pre-inquest hearing last month, the family’s lawyer Anthony O’Toole said there was a “high probability” a third person was in the flat when Mr Williams died. “The unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services, and perhaps evidence was removed from the scene post mortem by an expert in those dark arts.”

Toronto Star : How U.K. spy’s body ended up inside sports bag mystifies experts at inquest

Friday, April 20, 2012

How U.K. spy’s body ended up inside sports bag mystifies experts at inquest

David Stringer | Associated Press | April 30, 2012

LONDON—Traces of at least two unknown people were discovered at the London apartment of a British spy whose naked body was found locked inside a sports bag, a forensic expert told a hearing Monday.

Ros Hammond said DNA from two as yet unidentified people had been found inside the home, and that tests still being conducted could provide a breakthrough in the case, which has so far baffled investigators.

Gareth Williams, 31, worked for Britain's secret eavesdropping service GCHQ but was attached to the MI6 overseas spy agency when his remains were found in August 2010 at his London apartment inside the bag, and placed in a bathtub.

A London inquest hearing has been told that Williams rarely invited guests into his government-provided apartment, but Hammond said scientists had uncovered possible evidence of visitors.

“There's certainly evidence of at least two people other than Mr. Williams on the samples tested,” Hammond told Westminster Coroner's Court.

She said DNA evidence on a towel was still being examined and could provide a clue to explain Williams' puzzling death. “There's hope,” she said. “The tests are still in progress and there may be some promising results.”

Police say they are not certain exactly how Williams died and have so far made no arrests, although a senior detective has told the inquest she believes that at least one other person must have been involved.

Officers have suggested Williams' death may have had links to his private life and an apparent interest in sadomasochism — possibly during a sexual encounter gone awry. His relatives, however, insist his demise must be related to his highly secret work.

Pathologists told the hearing that poisoning or asphyxiation may have killed Williams, but acknowledged they can't be certain of the exact cause of his death because his cadaver badly decomposed as it lay undiscovered for several days.

MI6 colleagues failed to report Williams as missing for a week, meaning that police and pathologists lost vital chances to gather evidence.

Pathologist Benjamin Swift told the inquest that radiators had been turned on inside Williams' apartment — even though it was summer — accelerating the decomposition of his body.

Asked whether Williams may have been poisoned or suffocated, Swift said the options “were certainly two of the more prominent” explanations for the cryptology expert's death.

“I would never say never but those are the foremost contenders,” he told the hearing.

Pathologist Richard Shepherd, who carried out the third of three autopsies on Williams, said it appeared certain the spy climbed into the bag voluntarily.

It was more likely that Williams “was alive when he entered the bag than that he was dead,” the told the hearing.

Shepherd said it would have been very difficult to place Williams' dead body inside the duffel bag in the position it was found in. He was discovered in the fetal position with his arms folded across his chest.

There were also no signs that the spy had struggled to free himself.

“Were he to be alive and struggling I would anticipate there to have been injuries,” Shepherd said.

A verdict from the inquest is expected Wednesday.