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Family disappointed over codebreaker's death mystery

The family of Gareth Williams have said they are "naturally disappointed" it is not possible to state with certainty how the codebreaker died.

They said in a statement they back the coroner's verdict that Gareth was probably unlawfully killed over the latest police conclusions.

They said: "We consider that on the basis of the facts at present known the Coroner's verdict accurately reflects the circumstances of Gareth's death."

CCTV of Gareth Williams released by the Metropolitan Police. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Archive/Press Association Images

They added: "We still however remain very disappointed over the failure of his employers at MI6 to take even the most basic enquiries concerning Gareth's welfare when he failed to attend for work on the 16th August, 2010.

"We believe that if proper steps had been taken in the same manner as any reasonable employer would have undertaken further information relating to the cause of his death might have become apparent and not have been lost due to the length of time before Gareth's body was found."

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  1. Lucy Manning

Police: MI6 spy death remains a mystery

Reconsidering all the original evidence and following new lines of inquiry, police say there is still insufficient evidence to be definitive on the circumstances of Gareth Williams' death.

They say it is theoretically possible for a person to lock themselves in a bag with the sort of lock used.

They outlined:

There is no evidence to support the theory there was a forensic clean of fingerprints

There is no evidence of a third person in the flat

No evidence of forced entry

MI6 spy Gareth Williams was found dead in the bath at his home in London in 2010. Credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Police say they have had full support from security services and there is nothing to support the theory that Mr Williams' death was related to his work.

His interest in womens' clothes fuelled much speculation, they say, but the clothing had no bearing on the circumstances of his death.

Officers say Mr Williams was a very private person, who was close to his family and had few close friends. He was concientious and was a decent man with hobbies.

Police explained no evidence has been identified that could establish the full circumstances of Mr Williams' death beyond reasonable doubt.

They say, on balance, their probable conclusion is that no person was present when he died and there is insuffient new evidence to re-open an inquest.

There are no more active lines of inquiry but police say the case will remain under review.

Spy chief: Working at MI6 'not like James Bond'

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall. Credit: United Artists Corporation handout

Working at MI6 is not like James Bond, one of the security chiefs told MPs that operatives are given far more supervision.

"The idea of sending an agent off into the field like James Bond, then he comes back two months later and reports... that doesn't work that way," Sir John Sawers, chief of MI6, said. "Our people in the field will have constant communication with us."

Rifkind: Spy chiefs glad to explain their work

Sir Malcolm Rifkind has said that security chiefs speaking to MPs in public today was "an historic occasion" that will be repeated.

The Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee added that he believed those involved were glad of the chance to speak publicly.

He said: "Many of them have been upset at the accusations that they have been doing something improper or doing something unreasonable to their fellow citizens.

"I suspect they were pleased to have the opportunity in public to speak about the work their own staff do and how important it is to the national interest."

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