The Week : Gareth Williams: MI6 spy's death 'probably an accident'

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gareth Williams: MI6 spy's death 'probably an accident'

Conclusion of three-year police investigation contradicts coroner's theory of unlawful killing

November 13, 2013

GARETH WILLIAMS, the MI6 spy whose body was found naked in a padlocked sports bag, probably died in an accident, Scotland Yard has said.

Last year, a coroner ruled that it was likely Williams, 31, from Anglesey, had been unlawfully killed. But following a three-year investigation, police have now said "it was more probable" that no other person was present when he died in his London flat on 23 August 2010.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said he was satisfied that it was "theoretically possible" Williams could have zipped and padlocked the bag from the inside, although "many questions remain unanswered" as to the circumstances of his death.

Williams had been on a secondment with MI6 from his job as a communications officer at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. It had taken a week for MI6 to investigate the code-breaker's disappearance, and a post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office pathologist failed to determine the cause of death.

Subsequent theories included polonium poisoning by foreign agents, a bizarre sex game gone wrong and a fatal art project called 'Living Spaces' for a course at Central Saint Martins.

Police today said there was no evidence that the MI6 officer had intended to take his own life or that his death was connected to his work. There were about ten to 15 traces of DNA in the flat from which it had not been possible to gain full DNA profiles, but all other DNA profiles and fingerprints had been eliminated. They added that there was no evidence that Williams's flat had been forensically cleaned.

But Williams's family said they stood by the coroner's findings, reports The Times. In a statement they said: "We are naturally disappointed that it is still not possible to state with certainty how Gareth died and the fact that the circumstances of his death are still unknown adds to our grief."