Western Daily Press : Author Frederick Forsyth says doctor found man in holdall was clearly murdered

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Author Frederick Forsyth says doctor found man in holdall was clearly murdered

Western Daily Press | September 26, 2015

Best-selling author and self-confessed former MI6 operative Frederick Forsyth says he believes former GCHQ worker Gareth Williams' death was "clearly murder".

The author, famous for thrillers including The Day of The Jackal, The Odessa File and Dogs of War, spoke to the Western Daily Press' sister paper the Gloucestershire Echo in an interview ahead of his appearance at Cheltenham Literature Festival next Friday.

The death of Dr Williams, 31, divided opinion after conflicting conclusions were drawn by the coroner and Scotland Yard.

The naked body of the codes and ciphers expert was found in a padlocked holdall in the bath of his top-floor flat in Pimlico, central London, on August, 23, 2010.

Agreeing that the unresolved case bore similarities to a fictional plot, Frederick Forsyth said: "It might have been, because obviously it was weird, and inexplicable, and I don't think we ever got to the bottom of it properly and we never will now.

"And occasionally murders, and it was clearly murder I think, but there are murders of course that are never ever solved and this may well be one."

Dr Williams, who was on secondment to MI6 from GCHQ, was due to return to Cheltenham the week after he died.

A coroner concluded that Dr Williams was probably unlawfully killed and his death the result of a criminal act following an eight-day inquest in 2012.

Westminster coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, said he was probably either suffocated or poisoned, before a third party locked and placed the bag in the bath. But Scotland Yard's three-year inquiry concluding in 2013 stated that Williams was "most probably" alone when he died.

Dr Williams, who rented a flat in Bouncers Lane, in Cheltenham, for many years, was originally from North Wales.

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

Mr Forsyth also spoke about his recent admission that he was an agent for the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, in the past, saying: "Well, it's called asset or agent but really it's errand runner. I just ran a few errands, that's all."

Mr Forsyth will make a rare appearance at Cheltenham Literature Festival next Friday, October 2.