BBC : Gareth Williams: Spy was dead before being put in bag, expert claims

Friday, November 15, 2013

Gareth Williams: Spy was dead before being put in bag, expert claims

November 15, 2013

A confined spaces expert who gave evidence at the inquest of dead M16 agent Gareth Williams, has questioned suggestions that the spy's death was accidental.

Peter Faulding, who was asked to see if he could escape a padlocked sports bag like the one Gareth Williams was found in, said that he could lock [zip] himself in the bag - but was unable to put the padlock on.

He told BBC Radio 5 live's Phil Williams that there was no DNA traces on the padlock or outside of the bag, and that Gareth's "foetal position" and "calm manner" indicated that his body was placed into the bag after his death.

However this week 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.

West End Extra : Police challenge coroner’s ruling on MI6 death – but ‘how can you lock yourself in a bag by accident?’

Friday, November 15, 2013

Police challenge coroner’s ruling on MI6 death – but ‘how can you lock yourself in a bag by accident?’

by WILLIAM McLENNAN | November 15, 2013

THE death of an MI6 code-breaker who was found naked inside a locked holdall in the bath of his Pimlico flat was a “tragic accident” that was not “in any way related to his work”, according to Scotland Yard.

Last year an inquest found it was likely Gareth Williams, who was 31, had been “unlawfully killed” at his home in Alderney Street in August 2010.

But Detective Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said this week that they disputed the coroner’s findings and said: “It is a more probable conclusion that there was no other person present when Gareth died.”

No major breakthrough has been made by police but, instead, they reached the conflicting conclusion after reanalysing existing evidence and carrying out further interviews with 27 members of the security services who worked with Mr Williams.

The long-running police investigation has been dogged by speculation about the involvement of the security services in his death and several blogs have sprung up dedicated to the so-called “Alderney Street Mystery”.

It was the “talk of Lupus Street” for weeks after the death, and the announcement on Wednesday was said to have left Pimlico residents “baffled”.

DAC Hewitt denied having the “wool pulled over my eyes” by the security services and said MI6 had co-operated with the investigation.

He said it was now proven that it is “theoretically possible” for somebody to lock themselves in “the exact holdall, with the same type of lock, and in the configuration in which Gareth was found”.

Announcing the end of the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigation, DAC Hewitt nevertheless said it was impossible to rule out the involvement of a third party. He said: “The reality is that for both hypotheses there exist evidential contradictions and gaps in our understanding.”

Mr Williams’s family disagree with the Met’s conclusion and said the coroner’s ruling “accurately reflects the circumstances of Gareth’s death”.

After an inquest, held in Marylebone in April last year, coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox said: “The cause of his death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated.

“I am therefore satisfied that on the balance of probabilities that Gareth was killed unlawfully.”

In a statement this week Mr Williams’s family said: “We are naturally disappointed that it is 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”.

Mr Williams, who was originally from Wales, worked for the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham but was living in Pimlico while on secondment at MI6 in Vauxhall.

During the inquest last year it was suggested that the two-bedroom flat near the junction with Warwick Way was used as a safe house for MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service, SIS.

This was denied by security services, but at the inquest Anthony O’Toole, the lawyer for Mr Williams’s family, suggested there was evidence that “since 2003 the tenant of the flat has been the secretary of state”– in other words that it had been occupied continuously by agents from MI6 since that year.

At the inquest last year, Mr O’Toole asked if it was “possible that it may have been known to certain parties as being the residence of SIS”.

Pimlico resident Murad Gassanly told West End Extra: “When it first happened it was the talk of Lupus Street, in the shops and so on, and everyone was quite shocked that it was in their neighbourhood and so close.

“I think people are talking about it again today, but they’re just baffled. How can you lock yourself in a bag by accident?”

Mr Williams was not been well known in Pimlico and this week police said: “He was without doubt a private person who was very close to his family and had few other close friends.”

He was said to go for walks around Belgravia and regularly visit Dover Street market in Mayfair.

International Business Times : James Bond - Not: MI6 Spy Accidentally Kills Himself

Friday, November 15, 2013

James Bond - Not: MI6 Spy Accidentally Kills Himself

By Sigrid Salucop | November 15, 2013

James Bond is known for being calm and liking his Martini "shaken not stirred" but while the coolest spy in the history of espionage movies is British, some British spies are not as lucky as James Bond.

According to Inquisitr, Scotland Yard is to announce the cause of death of an MI6 Secret Service agent. Gareth Williams, who was found inside a large sports bag three years ago, inspired a number of theories about his death. Reports Wednesday is a contradiction of previous reports that Williams died in the hands of another person.

British investigators say that Williams locked himself inside the bag by mistake. His remains were found in 2010 after friends reported that they were not able to contact Williams for several days. The bag was found in a safe house of the SIS.

Who is Gareth Williams?

Gareth Williams may be known for his death -naked inside a bag in the bath, but he wasn't just a spy according to sources. Williams also worked as a codebreaker at GCHQ. It's also revealed that he was keen on escapology. The spy was a Mathematician from Wales who worked for GCHQ. After his stint at GCHQ, he was seconded to the MI6.

Gareth Williams Inquest

An inquiry in 2012 resulted to coroner Fiona Wilcox saying that the spy was likely to have been "unlawfully killed". They reportedly assumed that it was impossible for a person to get into such a bag and lock himself in.

According to The Guardian, Wilcox said that there were no sign of injuries on Williams's body. He was also found to not have been involved in any type of struggle. Wilcox added that he was free from drugs or alcohol.

A BBC report after the 2012 inquest notes however that the Metropolitan Police considered the MI6 worker's death to be "suspicious and unexplained". The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), whom Williams worked closely before his death, also took a look into the case. In December of 2010, police released information that the spy had visited bondage Web sites.

Martin Hewitt of the Met Police said that it was "theoretically possible" that Williams padlocked the bag while he was inside it. The Deputy Assistant Commissioner added that "many questions remain unanswered" considering the British spy's death.

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Southwest Business : Family of GCHQ officer Gareth Williams say 'questions over our son’s death left unanswered'

Friday, November 15, 2013

Family of GCHQ officer Gareth Williams say 'questions over our son’s death left unanswered'

by Aled Thomas, reporter, Gloucestershire Echo | November 15, 2013

The family of Gareth Williams, the GCHQ officer found dead in his London flat three years ago, say they have been prevented from properly investigating the circumstances of his death.

The Metropolitan Police issued a report following further inquiries into Dr Williams’ death which concluded that he was probably alone when he died.

Previously an inquest had decided that another person, or persons, were probably involved, as the mathematician was found locked, from the outside, in a large holdall in the bath of his flat in Pimlico.

Dr Williams was a few days from the end of a three-year secondment to MI6 in London, and was due to return to GCHQ in Cheltenham.

But the lawyer for his parents, Ian and Ellen Williams, has revealed that he was prevented from asking the questions he wanted of an MI6 agent at the original inquest last year.

Anthony O’Toole told the Mirror he wanted to question the MI6 officer, known as Agent G, about how staff from the Secret Intelligence Service could have entered Dr Williams’ flat, adding: "I was not allowed by the coroner to say to the spooks, ‘You know how to get into flats without keys, don’t you?’ I was told it was contrary to national security.

"My suggestion is that the dark arts were involved and there was a curious lack of evidence in there – almost like it had been swept clean."

Although the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner Martin Hewitt said the new investigation led to the conclusion that Dr Williams probably died alone, he admitted there were large gaps in the evidence.

"The reality is that for both hypotheses there exists evidential contradictions and gaps in our understanding," he said.

It was not explained why Dr Williams’ DNA was not found on the padlock closing the holdall, or why his palm prints were not on the rim of the bath.

Another 15 DNA samples which remain unidentified were recovered by police from the flat.

It has emerged that during the original police inquiry officers were not able to access the security vetting files on Dr Williams because liaison between detectives and the security services was conducted through the counter-terrorism squad.

But in the latest investigation, 27 people from MI6 and GCHQ were interviewed. DAC Hewitt denies the security services were involved in either Dr Williams’ death, or covering it up.

"I do not believe that I have had the wool pulled over my eyes," he said. "I believe that what we are dealing with is a tragic unexplained death."