Southwest Business : Experts dispute claims on GCHQ codebreaker Gareth William’s death

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Experts dispute claims on GCHQ codebreaker Gareth William’s death

by Phil Norris | The Gloucestershire Echo | November 19, 2013

Experts who tried to recreate GCHQ officer Gareth Williams’ death have rebuffed police suggestions that he died by accident.

The MI6 codebreaker was found dead in his London flat three years ago.

His decomposing body was found in a large holdall in the bath of his flat in Alderney Street in Pimlico.

The bag was locked from the outside.

A Metropolitan Police report issued last week concluded he was probably alone when he died.

But witnesses who worked closely with the investigation said Dr Williams could not have got into the bag and locked it from the inside alone.

When Mr Williams’ naked body was found, the handles of the holdall had been fastened with Velcro, there was no sign of him struggling to escape, and the eyelets on the locks had been perfectly aligned.

Despite attempting to recreate the scene more than 400 times, nobody has been able to replicate it solo.

No one has ever come forward who has been able to recreate the scene.

There was also no prints or DNA from the mathematician on the rim of the bath, padlock or zipper and he was not wearing any gloves.

Despite the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death and an inquest finding that he was unlawfully killed, police have decided that Mr Williams most likely got into the bag by himself and died after failing to get out again.

Confined spaces expert, William MacKay, who gave evidence at and inquest into Mr Williams’ death, said he still believes that someone else was involved.

"The likelihood that one person could do it is slim," he said.

Dr Williams was coming to the end of a three-year secondment to MI6 in London in August 2010, when he was reported missing by GCHQ, just days before he was due to return to Cheltenham.

Dr Williams, who rented a flat in Bouncers Lane for many years and was a keen cyclist and member of Cheltenham and County Cycle Club, was originally from North Wales.

His family said they believed the coroner’s view "accurately reflects the circumstances of Gareth’s death.

"We remain very disappointed over the failure of his employers at MI6 to take even the most basic of enquiries concerning Gareth’s welfare when he failed to attend for work on 16th August 2010.

"This lack of concern for Gareth’s wellbeing remains an overriding feature of our thoughts following the death of a dear son and brother."