BBC Radio 5 live : Expert: "I believe" MI6 agent was dead and then put into bag

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Expert: "I believe" MI6 agent was dead and then put into bag

Host: Phil Williams | November 14, 2013

Confined spaces expert Peter Faulding says the case of MI6 spy, Gareth Williams, who was found dead in padlocked sports bag in August 2010 "has never left my mind".

Mr Faulding explains why he believes Mr Williams, 31, from Anglesey, was killed before he was put into the bag that was found in a bath, including a lack of Mr Williams' DNA evidence being found on the bath or the outside of the bag.

In 2012 a coroner said it was likely Mr Williams had been unlawfully killed. On November 13th 2013, the Metropolitan Police said an evidence review had found "it was more probable" no other person was present when he died in his London flat.



[transcribed by Winter Patriot; edited slightly for clarity]

PETER FAULDING: This is one of the jobs that's never left my mind, and I'm still, still thinking about it all the time, and thinking of possibilities.

PHIL WILLIAMS: And just to be clear to people listening, 'cause obviously this isn't television, you are a very almost identical build to Gareth Williams.

PETER FAULDING: Yes, that's right. I'm slightly shorter than Gareth. I'm 5 foot 6 and I think that Gareth was about 5 foot 8, but I'm slightly, maybe a slightly stockier build around the shoulders, but -- 'cause he was a keen cyclist -- but apart from that, pretty similar.

PHIL WILLIAMS: Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt says he has got to the position where he felt it was theoretically possible to have padlocked that bag from the inside. You tried it. What do you think?

PETER FAULDING: Well, let me just go through a few of the facts on this case, and when we started. First, when he was found, when the police found him, all the lights were out in the flat. The door was closed on the bathroom, the lights were out in the bathroom and the temp, the actual heating was turned up full -- in mid-summer, in August. And I tried to get into the bag. I could zip the bag closed, though I couldn't put the padlock on. And in court there was another method shown, they call it the baggage handlers' technique, where you could actually slide the lock, and then shortly after that, a 15-year-old girl managed to do it -- a very slight build -- to actually lock the thing. But that's not what it's about, There was no trace anywhere of any DNA, fingerprints, anything on the lock, the padlock. Now, everywhere we go, forensically, I'm forensically trained, we leave a trace where we've been, so if I touch something, unless I've got gloves on, there will be a trace, on the padlock, on the bag, on the bath. Now I've tried getting into the -- you have to get into the bag shoulders first, then you put your feet up at the end of the bath, slide in, and slide it underneath. There's all sorts of theories about him doing escapology tricks, and so on. But the room was dark. If he had -- he was a very clever man -- he certainly would have had a knife to cut himself free if he got into trouble.

PHIL WILLIAMS: And he wasn't wearing gloves.

PETER FAULDING: He wasn't wearing gloves and there's theories, he could have swallowed the gloves. Well they would be found at the post-mortem. So there's no way he could have done this. He could have locked himself in the bag. That can be done. But in the dark -- no one's ever done this in the dark, in a locked, in a closed room inside a bath. And when the body was found, there was not a trace anywhere of Gareth Williams in the bath or on the bag, on the outside of the bag, padlock, handles, so it was very peculiar. So that is an impossibility. That cannot be done without leaving a trace.

PHIL WILLIAMS: So what you're saying is that even if, so let's say he has done this himself, in order to just even place the holdall into the bath and then get into it, he would have left either a footprint, a fingerprint, or a hair, or something --

PETER FAULDING: Absolutely. He would have left something somewhere. We all leave a trace, so there was, there would have been a trace somewhere, but not only that. To actually -- I carried out the air tests on the bag, and pathologists said you'd last five minutes. Well, I was in the bag five minutes with it closed, under -- I may say this -- under controlled conditions, with paramedics on standby because it's not some -- please don't do this at home. But and I said that you would last up to thirty minutes depending on the size, but probably more realistically, he would have suffocated within ten to fifteen minutes. And that depends on the fitness levels. He was obviously a very fit gentleman. But there's no volume in the bag. I couldn't move. And the other thing what we gotta say is Gareth Williams was found in a foetal position with his hands across his chest, in a very calm manner. So I said at the coroner's inquest, I believe he was dead before he was put in there, and then lifted into the bath.

[audio here]