Spy found dead in a holdall ‘was being followed in weeks before he was killed’

Simon Tomlinson – Daily Mail April 22, 2012

Questions his family are demanding answers to:
  • · Were secret agents specialising in the ‘dark arts’ responsible for Mr Williams’s death in his Pimlico home?
  • · Is it physically possible that he was able to get inside a North Face holdall in his bathtub before padlocking himself in?
  • · Could a third party have been present when he died despite no trace of DNA or fingerprints?
  • · Why did police remove the front door to his flat if there were no signs of a break-in?
  • Why was there no sign of struggle on his body?
  • ·  Could he have been drugged despite normal blood tests?
  • What exactly did Mr Williams do for the GCHQ listening station – was he an active MI6 agent when he died?
  • ·  Why had he been placed on secondment in London?
  • Why did it take colleagues eight days to realise he was missing?
  • ·  What happened to Mr Williams’s possessions that he kept in a shared locker at the MI6 headquarters?
  • Why have letters gone missing between the coroner and police in recent months?
  • ·  Has information been withheld because shedding light on Mr Williams’s death could jeopardise secret security operations?
  • Why did he fail to tell his employer that he was undertaking a series of part-time fashion courses at Central St Martins College?
  • ·  Why did it take forensic teams more than a year to realise a spot of DNA on Mr Williams’s hand matched a scientist on the crime scene?

The MI6 spy found dead in a holdall feared he was the target of hostile surveillance in the days before he died, detectives have revealed.

In a disclosure that further deepens the mystery surrounding the fate of GCHQ codebreaker Gareth Williams, it has emerged he confided in a friend that he was being followed.

His naked and decomposing body was later found in the bath of his home in Pimlico, central London, in August 2010.

The discovery sparked a painstaking investigation, worldwide media frenzy and several outlandish conspiracy theories.

Elizabeth Guthrie, the daughter of a New York stockbroker, told Scotland Yard detectives early in their inquiries of Mr Williams’ concerns, it was reported in The Sunday Times.

She is due to give evidence at his inquest this week, which will attempt to unravel the circumstances that led to the brilliant mathematician’s demise.

Relatives of the 31-year-old will demand to find out if he was killed in a sinister cover-up by secret services.

Police and security services are convinced his demise was linked to his personal life.

But police sources have hinted that MI6 and GCHQ have been reluctant to reveal what Williams was working on at the time and whether it may have provoked a foreign intelligence service or crime syndicate to come after him.

A coroner will hear from fellow agents, police and friends of Mr Williams this week a bid to solve the 21-month mystery.

Family members fear ‘some agency specialising in the dark arts’ leaves them with no way of knowing how and why he died.

Scotland Yard has drawn a blank in its bid to explain whether he died at the hands of a third party.

Relatives believe someone was either present when he died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy evidence.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox, who has expressed frustration at police over a DNA ‘error’, is expected to hear from about 30 witnesses over at least five days.

She says that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself ‘was at the very heart of this inquiry’.

Mr Williams, of Anglesey, North Wales, was found in a large North Face holdall, sealed by a padlock, at his top-floor flat in Alderney Street.

A battery of post-mortem tests failed to determine how he died and police originally found it would have been impossible for him to have locked himself inside.

Family lawyer Anthony O’Toole has said the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court must establish why there was no evidence of another person in his London apartment.

He told a pre-inquest review: ‘The impression of the family is that the unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services, or evidence has been removed post-mortem by experts in those dark arts.’

The mathematics prodigy worked as a cipher and codes expert for GCHQ, the Government listening station, but had been on secondment with MI6 since March 2010.

Mr O’Toole added: ‘In our submission, to properly explore the circumstances of the death, we need to establish the deceased’s work.’

Relatives want to know why the alarm was not raised when Mr Williams initially failed to turn up to work.

By the time officers arrived at his flat, his body was so decomposed that evidence had been lost.

It emerged last month that two areas of investigation were red herrings.

Forensic teams mistakenly flagged up a spot of DNA on Mr Williams’s hand in 2010, before realising just six weeks ago that it matched a scientist on the crime scene.

It also emerged that a Mediterranean couple police wanted to speak to were irrelevant to Mr Williams’s death.

Dr Wilcox has indicated she may want to see a practical demonstration of how Mr Williams might have got into the bag and locked it himself.

Experts agree that locking the bag from the inside ‘would have been very difficult, if not impossible’, Metropolitan Police lawyer Vincent Williams said.

The inquest will hear that Mr Williams may have died after breathing too much carbon dioxide.

There were no signs of struggle on his body and blood tests have not shown any drugs in his system.


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