Three-year investigation by Scotland Yard concludes Gareth Williams likely succumbed as a result of a tragic accident
The MI6 snoop found dead in a container 3 years ago likely locked himself in the holdall and succumbed as a result of a tragic accident, Scotland Yard has said.
Outlining the results of a three-year investigation on Wednesday, the Metropolitan police mentioned Gareth Williams most likely succumbed alone in his flat.
But Detective Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said the police could not “fundamentally and beyond doubt” rule out the possibility that a third party had participated in his death.
Williams’s naked torso was found in the padlocked container, with the keys discovered under his torso, in the otherwise empty bath in his flat in Pimlico, central London, in August 2010.
Last year, a coroner concluded that Williams was likely unlawfully killed and his death research results of a criminal act. Following an eight-day inquest, the Westminster coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, said he was probably either suffocated or poisoned, before a third party locked and placed the container in the bath.
But Hewitt mentioned Scotland Yard’s three-year inquiry had come to a different c. conclusions and that Williams was “most probably” alone when he died.
“Despite all of this considerable endeavour, it is still the occurrence that there is insufficient evidence to be definitive on the circumstances that led to Gareth’s death, ” he said.
“Rather, what we are left with is either individual pieces of indication, or a lack of such indication, that can logically support one of a number of hypotheses.”
Hewitt added that the investigation had added “some clarity and detail” to the case, but that “no evidence has been identified to establish the full all cases of Gareth’s death beyond all reasonable doubt”.
A forensic examination of Williams’s flat, a security service safe house, has concluded that there was no sign of forced enter or DNA that pointed to a third party present at the time of the spy’s death.
Scotland Yard’s inquiry also find no evidence of Williams’s fingerprints on the padlock of the container or the rim of the bath, which the coroner last year mentioned supported her affirm of “third-party involvement” in the fatality. Hewitt said it was theoretically possible for Williams to lower himself into the holdall without touching the rim of the bath.
Winding down the lengthy investigation, which has described interviews and statements from 27 of Williams’s colleagues in MI6 and GCHQ, Hewitt said the fatality remained a tragedy that would be kept under review by detectives.
In a statement, Williams’s family said they were disappointed with the police findings and that they agreed with the coroner’s conclusions that he was most likely killed unlawfully.”We are naturally disappointed that it is still not possible to state with certainty how Gareth succumbed and the fact that the requirements of his death are still unknown adds to our grief, ” the family said.
“We note that the investigation has been conducted with further interviews upon some of the witnesses who committed indication at the inquest and that the investigation squad were at last able to interview immediately members of GCHQ and SIS[ MI6 ].
“We consider that on the basis of the facts at present known the coroner’s judgment accurately indicates the requirements of Gareth’s death.”
In a press briefing at Scotland Yard, Hewitt acknowledged it was “a cause of some regret” that the police can no longer be definitively explain the circumstances surrounding the 31 -year-old’s death.
He rejected suggestions that the security services had “pulled the wool” over his eyes, following concerns over how MI6 and counter-terrorism policemen had managed some indication during the initial investigation. It emerged on Wednesday that police only gained access to Williams’s spy agency personnel and vetting files after the coroner’s inquest objective last May.
Williams, a maths prodigy and fitness enthusiast originally from Anglesey, was a private person with few other close friends aside from his family, police mentioned. In interviews, MI6 and GCHQ colleagues described him as a “conscientious and decent man” and sleuths were unable to identify anyone who knows any enmity towards him or a reason for inducing him harm.
As part of the fresh investigation, a forensic sweep of Williams’s flat discovered 10 to 15 unidentified retraces of DNA, which are being kept under examination, but none on the North Face holdall or all over the bath area of the en suite bathroom of the flat’s main bedroom. There was also no evidence of a “deep clean” of the flat to wipe all trace of DNA.
Hewitt mentioned: “There are really three hypotheses that you can use here. One is that Gareth, for whatever reason, get himself into that container and then was unable to get himself out and succumbed as a result of that.
“One is that Gareth, with someone else, got into the container consensually, then something went wrong and he died as a result of that. The third is that someone murdered Gareth by putting him in that container. I would argue that any physical absence[ of evidence of] a third party being present tend to make the hypotheses that there is a third party present less likely.”
He added: “The coroner drew an presumption. I am now drawing a different inference.”
At the coroner’s inquest, two experts tried 400 hours to lock themselves into the 32 in by 19 in holdall without success, with one remarking that even Harry Houdini “would have struggled” to squeeze himself inside. But days after the inquest, footage emerged of a retired legion sergeant climbing into the container and locking it from the inside.
Hewitt said it was now established that it was theoretically possible for a person to climbing into the container and that it was “more probable” that Williams did this before suffocating as a result of the accident. It emerged during the inquest that Williams had an interest in escapology, but the police “re saying it” would be speculation to relate his death to a failed is making an effort to flee from the locked holdall.
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