Unanswered questions remain over spy's death

Gareth Williams was found inside a locked waterproof red bag in his M16-owned apartment in cental London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

It's the last day of the inquest into the death of Gareth Williams with the verdict expected today.

While we're not really any closer to knowing what actually happened inside the flat the seven days of evidence have revealed some new facts.

Perhaps most significant was the statement from Mr Williams' former landlady in Cheltenham who rented a room to him for 11 years while he worked at GCHQ.

Jennifer Elliott recalled being woken one night by Mr Williams screaming for help and found her tenant had tied his wrists to his bed.This appears to reveal an interest in escapology and in turn suggests a context to the discovery of the code breaker's body in a padlocked holdall.

Of course this isn't proof Mr Williams' death was linked to his personal life rather than his top secret work. But there isn't going to be proof in this case unless whoever was in the Pimlico flat with him walks into a police station and tells all.

We know more of why police are convinced there was a third party there now too.Not only did the inquest hear convincing testimony from two experts in confined spaces on how difficult it would have been to get into and lock the bag alone but there are forensics - however faint - to back that up.

Someone else's DNA was on one zip and the padlock, though in such a minute form it's unlikely to ever yield even a partial profile.A blood spot just outside the door to Mr Williams' flat belongs to someone else not tested by the police investigating the 'suspicious' death.

Police guard Gareth Williams' Pimlico flat in London. Credit: Reuters, Luke MacGregor

More too is known about that inquiry itself and the problems it has encountered.Only yesterday there was a dramatic demonstration of how the police have been hampered by the nature of Mr Williams' employment - whatever they may say officially.

You can be sure the murder squad leading the inquiry were staggered to learn a similar North Face bag also padlocked was found in his MI6 office with 9 computer memory stocks and not seized by their colleagues in the anti-terror command tasked with liaising with the intelligence services on their behalf.

That decision and others which appear to have given MI6 treatment other employers could not expect in a potential murder inquiry is likely to be criticised by the coroner this afternoon.

MI6 will also come under fire for failing to react properly to Mr Williams missing two appointments for six days.

The efforts made to find this brilliant mathematician appeared hapless and halfhearted, recognised by the agency in its apology to the still very distressed Williams family.

It is issues like this which have fuelled their suspicions that dark forces have been at work and Mr Williams is the victim not of a dreadful accident but a cover up too and perhaps even murder by others in the secret world he lived in.

I'll be giving live updates this morning as their lawyer details their opinions of the case to the coroner in their final legal submission.

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