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Spy's family fear the dark arts to blame; Inquest into the bizzarre death of Gareth to finally begin today.

Byline: TOM MORGAN

RELATIVES of MI6 spy Gareth Williams will demand to find out this week if he was killed in a sinister cover-up by secret services.

The family of codebreaker Mr Williams, 31, from Valley, who was found dead locked in a sports bag in the bath of his London flat in August 2010, want answers on how he died.

A coroner will today hear from fellow agents, police and friends of the maths prodigy as an inquest attempts to solve a 21-month mystery.

Family members fear "some agency specialising in the dark arts" leaves them with no way of knowing how and why he died.

Scotland Yard has drawn a blank in its bid to explain whether he died at the hands of a third party.

Relatives believe someone was either present when he died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy evidence.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox, who has expressed frustration at police over a DNA "error", is expected to hear from about 30 witnesses over at least five days.

She says that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself "was at the very heart of this inquiry".

The naked and decomposing body of Mr Williams, 31, was found in the bath of his home in Pimlico, central London, in August 2010.

The discovery sparked a painstaking investigation, worldwide media frenzy and several outlandish conspiracy theories.

Mr Williams, a former pupil at Ysgol Uwchradd Bodedern, was found in a large North Face holdall, sealed by a padlock, at his top-floor flat in Alderney Street.

A battery of post-mortem tests failed to determine how he died and police originally found it would have been impossible for him to have locked himself inside.

Family lawyer Anthony O'Toole has said the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court must establish why there was no evidence of another person in his London apartment.

He told a pre-inquest review: "The impression of the family is that the unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services, or evidence has been removed post-mortem by experts in those dark arts."

The mathematics star worked as a cipher and codes expert for GCHQ, the Government listening station, but had been on secondment with MI6 since March 2010.

Mr O'Toole added: "In our submission, to properly explore the circumstances of the death, we need to establish the deceased's work."

Relatives want to know why the alarm was not raised when Mr Williams initially failed to turn up to work.

By the time officers arrived at his flat, his body was so decomposed that evidence had been lost.

It emerged last month that two areas of investigation were red herrings.

Forensic teams mistakenly flagged up a spot of DNA on Mr Williams's hand before realising just six weeks ago it matched a scientist on the crime scene.

Dr Wilcox has indicated she may want to see a practical demonstration of how Mr Williams might have got into the bag and locked it himself. Experts agree that locking the bag from the inside "would have been very difficult, if not impossible", Metropolitan Police lawyer Vincent Williams said.

The inquest will hear that Mr Williams may have died after breathing too much carbon dioxide. There were no signs of struggle on his body and blood tests have not shown any drugs in his system.

THE KEY QUESTIONS...? Were secret agents specialising in the "dark arts" responsible for Mr Williams' death in his Pimlico home? ? Is it physically possible that he was able to get inside a North Face holdall in his bathtub before padlocking himself in? ? Could a third party have been present when he died despite no trace of DNA or fingerprints? ? Why did police remove the front door to his flat if there were no signs of a break-in? ? Why was there no sign of struggle on his body? Could he have been drugged despite normal blood tests? ? What exactly did Mr Williams do for the GCHQ listening station - was he an active MI6 agent when he died? Why had he been placed on secondment in London? ? Why did it take colleagues eight days to realise he was missing? ? Has information been withheld because shedding light on Mr Williams's death could harm security operations? ? Why did he fail to tell his employer that he was undertaking a series of part-time fashion courses?
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 23, 2012
Words:736
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