MI6 Death Mystery Hindered By Human Error

18 months after the naked and decomposing body of an MI6 spy was found locked inside a holdall the police have still not been able to establish how he died.

The body of Gareth Williams, a GCHQ codebreaker, was found inside the locked holdall in the bathtub of his Pimlico flat on August 23, 2010.

Toxicology tests and an exhaustive investigation into his background have been hampered by key blunders, the coroner’s court has heard during a pre-inquest review.

Westminster Coroner’s Court was told that Mr William’s MI6 employers failed to raise the alarm when he didn’t report for work leading to delays in finding his body, which resulted in a post mortem being "ineffective".

But in another key blunder, DNA found on the spy's hand, thought to be crucial to the case, turned out to be from a forensic scientist who took evidence at the scene.

Then human error in the way DNA results was fed into a computer led to false leads being pursued needlessly until this year.

Coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, told the hearing that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself "was at the very heart of this inquiry".

Adding there was a lack of pathological evidence to prove Mr Williams made a "frantic attempt" to get out of the bag and that she would like a practical demonstration in court of how a person could get into a bag and lock it up from the inside.

The inquest will hear from Mr Williams's colleagues from MI6 and the GCHQ, toxicology experts and bag experts as well as a statement from his sister.


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