Gareth Williams: MI6 clean-up theory in spy's death, says expert Crispin Black

Gareth Williams
Image caption The police investigation into Gareth Williams's death has lasted 21 months

An intelligence expert says a cover-up by British secret services cannot be ruled out in the death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams.

The body of Mr Williams, 31, from Anglesey, was found locked in a bag in his London flat in 2010.

Delivering a narrative verdict, the coroner said on the balance of probabilities he was unlawfully killed.

But Crispin Black told BBC Wales' Week In Week Out programme he believes the case has been interfered with.

"There's a possibility there's been some sort of clean-up by MI6 - that's a clear possibility," said Mr Black, an intelligence analyst and former advisor to the UK government who followed the inquest on behalf of the programme.

"One thing I'm pretty sure of, and I think others will be too, is that the police are unlikely to have been the first people around to that flat."

The programme also heard from two key witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest.

'No room to manoeuvre'

One was Peter Faulding, an expert in confined spaces who attempted 300 times to lock himself in a North Face bag in a bath, like the one Mr Williams was found in, and failed every time.

"Locking the bag from the inside in a confined area, you can't access the lock from the outside, you can pull the material together but your arms when you're inside the bag, your arms are on the chest and there is no room to manoeuvre," he said.

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Media captionRobin Williams, family solicitor: "We are disappointed at MI6 for failing to make relevant documents available"

"There's no hold to get a lock through, so it becomes near impossible. I couldn't do it.

"I'm not an escapologist but I think even Houdini would have a problem with this one."

Mr Faulding believes another person must have locked the bag, and in his view, the evidence from the inquest can only point to one conclusion.

He added: "I don't think he'd think about suicide. Also the sex game theory- the evidence doesn't really count. I think it was potentially murder."

Another key witness was pathologist Richard Shepherd.

Crucially, his attempts to finding a cause of death that may have shed some light on how Mr Williams died, were hampered because of the eight-day delay in finding the missing body.

"The gaps that we had are the time he remained in his flat and the body decomposing - minor scratches to the skin would have been obliterated," he told the programme.

"Other features can sometimes can be subtle and decomposition will obliterate them, so that was the major hurdle we all had to jump."

It was MI6's delay in reporting him missing from work that has resulted in the delay in finding the body.


The fact that an operationally-active spy was not reported missing earlier surprised the coroner, and many following the inquest, including intelligence expert Mr Black.

Image caption THE LOCKED BAG RIDDLE: One key question before the inquest was whether Mr Williams had locked himself in the bag. Expert witness Peter Faulding, shown above, said that he had tried and failed to lock the bag from inside 300 times

He said: "I find the idea that nobody knew or raised alarm about his seven-day absence from work unconvincing, in fact unbelievable.

"Think about what we are being asked to believe - that somebody on attachment to the UK's foreign intelligence service, living in a flat a few hundred yards from its headquarters cannot turn up for work for a week and nobody appears to be concerned or worried."

Mr Black added: "He's brought from the country, attached to MI6, and just left alone.

"Now that is just bad management and also if I was an enemy agency seeking access to [the secret service] would be looking for young vulnerable men who are involved in secretive technical tasks."

Mr Black believes the death raises serious public concern about the security services.

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