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Spy would have suffocated in holdall within '3 minutes'

MI6 spy Gareth Williams would have suffocated within three minutes after getting inside his sports holdall, an inquest heard today.

Poisoning and asphyxiation are the "foremost contenders" in solving the death riddle, pathologists said.

It also emerged scientists found traces of "at least" two unknown people in his apartment despite evidence Mr Williams rarely invited people over.

Forensic expert Ros Hammond said there were hopes of a breakthrough "within a matter of weeks" from DNA tests found on a green towel in his kitchen.

"There's hope," she told Westminster Coroner's Court. "The tests are still in progress and there may be some promising results from those tests."

Ms Hammond said a third party would not necessarily have left any DNA on his red North Face bag and padlock.

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Poisoning and asphyxiation are 'foremost contenders' in spy death

Gareth Williams was found dead at his flat in Pimlico Credit: Metropolitan Police

Poisoning and asphyxiation are the "foremost contenders" in the sports bag death riddle of MI6 spy Gareth Williams, the inquest heard.Mr Williams was probably suffocated or killed by a poison which disappeared in his system during decomposition, pathologist Benjamin Swift said.

Dr Swift said his post-mortem examination was hampered by levels of heat within the bag after radiators were turned on in Mr Williams's top floor flat in the middle of summer.

Examinations on August 25 2010 - two days after Mr Williams was found in a holdall in his bathroom - gave cause of death as "unascertained"

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