- Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) officers examined all of Gareth Williams's IT equipment BEFORE handing it over to murder squad detectives
- Coroner Fiona Wilcox calls on SO15 to provide a witness to the inquest to explain their role in the investigations into Mr Williams's death
- Mr Williams's family believe a third party was either present when he died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy evidence
- A key witness in the inquiry who gave three different name to police is the daughter of a super-wealthy New York stockbroker
- DNA found on the dead spy's hand which police believed was significant actually belonged to a bungling forensic scientist
- Relatives want to know why MI6 did not raise the alarm when Mr Williams failed to turn up at work - by then his body was badly decomposed
Mystery: The naked and decomposing body of Gareth Williams, 31, was found locked inside a holdall in the bath of his home in Pimlico, central London, in August 2010
MI6 spy Gareth Williams's family fear British agents filtered out potential clues when they wiped data to conceal details of his classified work after his untimely death.
According to the pre-inquest hearing held last week, Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command examined all of Mr Williams's computers before handing them to murder detectives.
But Mr Williams's family have raised questions about the role of the command - codenamed SO15 - in the inquiry and want a witness from the squad to explain its role.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox: 'The family have expressed concerns to this court and want clarification of the role of SO15 in this inquiry.
'I hope a witness from SO15 can attend and explain,' she added, according to the Daily Mirror.
She confirmed that 'all computers, IT and phones were examined first by SO15' before they were handed over to the murder squad.
The discovery of Mr Williams's body in his flat near the Secret Service headquarters in London sparked a 20-month police inquiry that has so far drawn a blank.
Mr Williams's family last week said they believe their son may have been killed by a secret agent. Their barrister suggested a sinister cover-up had left them with no way of knowing how and Mr Williams died.
Security experts have agreed that the death had all the hallmarks of a professional killing, suggesting that a Russian or Iranian hit squad may have been involved.
It was also revealed that – far from being a back-office worker – Mr Williams had just completed training for deployment on operations.
Other revelations included:
- A witness questioned as part of the investigation used three different names in statements provided to police;
- Mr Williams had said was worried that he was being followed in the days before his death, but MI6 failed to pass this on to murder detectives;
- An expert seeking signs of forced entry said he was hampered because the front door had been taken from its hinges and locks removed;
- Pathologists still cannot agree on how Mr Williams died. The 31-year-old suffered no visible injuries and could not have locked himself in the bag according to police;
- DNA found on his hand that police rated as highly significant was in fact left by a bungling forensic scientist.
Suspicions: Relatives believe a third party was either present when Gareth Williams died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy evidence, lawyer Anthony O'Toole saidThe naked body of the super-fit maths prodigy was found in a large padlocked North Face bag in the bath of his Government-owned Pimlico flat in August 2010.
The codebreaker from Anglesey, North Wales, was said to have links to London's bondage and gay scene and it had already been suggested a sex game, possibly with a colleague, may have had a tragic end.
'There is a high probability that some third party was in the flat when Gareth was placed in the bag. Evidentially there seems to be no trace of an unknown party in the flat. Our impression is that the unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts or secret services'
Anthony O'Toole, Williams family barrister
Their barrister Anthony O'Toole rejected the conclusion of an internal MI6 inquiry that Mr Williams's death 'had nothing to do with his work'.
He said: 'There is a high probability that some third party was in the flat when Gareth was placed in the bag. Evidentially there seems to be no trace of an unknown party in the flat.
'Our impression is that the unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts or secret services.
'Or perhaps evidence has been removed from the scene post-mortem by experts in those arts.'
Mr Williams, pictured riding his bike, was found dead inside a body bag similar to the one pictured, rightMr Williams, an expert in cyber defences, was nearing the end of a one-year secondment from the GCHQ listening station to the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, in Vauxhall, London.
Shortly before his death he had returned from a clandestine visit to Washington where he had worked alongside U.S. agents in operations to counter infiltrations by Chinese and Russian computer hackers.
Mr Williams's body was discovered by police at his flat on August 23, 2010. He was found naked inside a red North Face holdall, which was padlocked on the outside and placed inside his bath.
A wide-ranging and highly sensitive police inquiry has left many questions unanswered over the circumstances of his death, Dr Wilcox heard.
Experts believe it would have been 'difficult, if not impossible' for Mr Williams to lock himself in the bag but can find no evidence of anyone else being present.
His body was found curled in the foetal position in the 140-litre black and red holdall with the keys to the Yale travel padlock beneath him.
Pathologists found no evidence of injuries or that he attempted to fight his way out. It remains possible that his dead body was put inside the bag.
Dr Wilcox said that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself 'was at the very heart of this inquiry'. She may order officials to recreate how he could have got inside it at the full inquest which is due to take place next month.
Experts have been unable to agree on exactly how Mr Williams died, favouring asphyxiation or hypercapnia, a catastrophic build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Their work was hampered by the heavily decayed state of his body and his MI6 colleagues face questions over why they did not raise the alarm earlier.
The confusion over her identity provoken Dr Wilcox to declare: 'There has been some confusion as to who this witness is and I need to know her identity.
‘I expect witnesses to identify who they are, not who they think they are.’
A Mail On Sunday investigation has revealed the woman to be 27-year-old American Missa Elizabeth Guthrie, who claims to be an international businesswoman linked to a wealthy American family worth £35billion.
Dr Wilcox told the hearing: ‘She [Ms Guthrie] will be asked to explain who she is and called to give evidence.’
The coroner said that there were a number of questions she wanted to ask Ms Guthrie about her identities, which were previously given as Missa Gunther, Misa Guseiri and Elizabeth Guthrie.
Film role: American Missa Guthrie, 27, left, in a scene from the low-budget movie she appeared in
The official said that the family was well known in America, and that it could embarrass them if Ms Guthrie’s previously unknown connection was made public.
However, it is no secret among Ms Guthrie’s friends that she was close to Mr Williams before he died.
A source involved in the case said: ‘She first met Gareth when she shared a flat in Knightsbridge where Gareth frequently came to meet friends from Wales. They struck up a close friendship because they were both interested in politics and history.
‘But in 2009 she moved out and found a top floor-flat in Pimlico which was close to Gareth’s address.’
In the months before he died, Ms Guthrie’s friendship with Mr Williams blossomed. The source said: ‘On election night in May 2010 the two of them stayed up late with another person to see in the new Coalition Government.’
Last images: Metropolitan Police released CCTV of his last known movements at Holland Park tube station
Questions: The family want to know why the alarm was not raised when Mr Williams failed to turn up to work and why it took his sister Ceri, pictured left at his funeral, to ring police to make them aware he was missingThe source said: ‘Ms Guthrie said Gareth told her he was being followed in the days before his death.
‘She didn’t know who it was, only that she and Gareth were so concerned that they sometimes varied the route they took home.’
Ms Guthrie also told friends after Mr Williams’s body was found that he was planning to leave the Secret Service so that he could set up his own business with her and another MI6 officer.
MoS investigations in the U.S. have revealed that Missa Elizabeth Guthrie is the daughter of George Gordon Guthrie, a wealthy New York stockbroker who is descended from the business partner of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.
It also emerged at the inquest that Scotland Yard detectives spent almost 20 months pursuing a DNA trace on his body that was left by a clumsy forensic scientist.
The chief executive of LGC Forensics will be hauled before the inquest to explain the astonishing blunder which was discovered only last month ago.
Red herring: It also emerged that a Mediterranean couple police wanted to speak to were irrelevant to Mr Williams's death
The inquest heard that Mr Williams's family were unhappy about several aspects of the inquiry, including the role of counter-terrorism officers who dealt with MI6 and GCHQ staff. They have raised questions about who ordered a second post-mortem examination and what happened to Mr Williams's possessions held in a work locker.
The family also want to hear more details about the nature of his work but MI6 representatives said disclosing the information could endanger national security.
Dr Wilcox attacked police for delaying the handover of evidence and questioned why the names of some witnesses had been withheld. She said some sensitive letters had gone missing.
MI6 has applied for several of Mr Williams's colleagues to give evidence anonymously and from behind screens.
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