'Dark arts' query over spy's death
Secret agents specialising in the "dark arts" might have tried to cover up the mysterious death of an MI6 spy found in a holdall, a coroner has heard.
Relatives believe a third party was either present when Gareth Williams, originally from Holyhead, Anglesey, died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy evidence, lawyer Anthony O'Toole said.
The family is demanding answers after Scotland Yard revealed a key line of its inquiries had been an 18-month DNA mix-up.
Mr O'Toole told a pre-inquest review that Westminster Coroner's Court must establish why there was no evidence of another person in his London apartment when he died.
He said: "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 the dark arts."
Mr O'Toole said relatives wanted 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.
Fresh questions over the cause of his death were raised after it emerged that two areas of investigation were red herrings.
Forensic teams mistakenly flagged up a spot of DNA on Mr Williams's hand in 2010 - before realising just two weeks ago that it matched a scientist on the crime scene, the force told the review. It also emerged that a Mediterranean couple police wanted to speak to were irrelevant to Mr Williams's death.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox expressed frustration over delays as "an ongoing problem" as she called for inquiries into the DNA "error". Dr Wilcox said that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself "was at the very heart of this inquiry".
Experts agree that locking the bag from the inside "would have been very difficult, if not impossible", Metropolitan Police lawyer Vincent Williams said, adding that the evidence suggested there is no need for a demonstration as to how the spy might have got in the bag. The inquest, due to start next month, will hear that Mr Williams may have died after breathing too much carbon dioxide.