UK & World News
Police Hint At Charges Over Body-In-Bag Death
Scotland Yard has said there is still a "real possibility" of bringing criminal charges over the death of an MI6 spy found in a holdall - as his sister revealed he had complained of "friction" at work and had become disillusioned with life in London.
A lawyer for the Metropolitan Police asked for video footage, which could be key to a prosecution, not to be made public, as the inquest into the mysterious death resumed.
Footage gathered during the painstaking investigation - which has drawn a 21-month blank for detectives - includes a video taken on Mr Williams' mobile phone.
The naked and decomposing body of Mr Williams was found in the bath of his home in Pimlico, central London, in August 25, 2010.
Police lawyer Vincent Williams told Coroner Fiona Wilcox: "There is a live, complex on-going investigation taking place.
"It is because there may be criminal proceedings further down the line that the Commissioner feels that the pattern of disclosure... has to be done with some care."
He warned a "careful line must be struck between open justice" at the inquest and a criminal investigation.
Dr Wilcox said in principle all videos and documents would be released to the media, but that she would have the final say in each case if any disclosures were disputed.
In evidence at the inquest, Ceri Subbe, Mr Williams' sister, revealed her brother had asked to move back to GCHQ's Gloucestershire headquarters in Cheltenham - and was due to return to the West Country a week after his body was discovered.
MI6 were "dragging their feet" in approving his request in April 2010, she said, but bosses agreed to let him leave on September 1, 2010.
Mr Williams was supposed to be on a three-year secondment in the capital but "as time went by his enthusiasm began to fade", the court heard.
Ms Subbe said: "He disliked office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race. He even spoke of friction in the office."
Explaining her comment, she told the hearing: "The job was not quite what he expected. He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with."
She described the cycling enthusiast as the "perfect big brother" who was from a tight-knit family that "cherished" their time together.
Ms Subbe was also asked about £20,000 of women's clothing that was discovered at her brother's flat.
She told the court she knew nothing about it but said that it was "not particularly" surprising, adding that they were possibly "gifts".
Ms Subbe said she did not believe Mr Williams would let a potential killer into his upmarket London flat, adding: "I cannot emphasise enough his conscientiousness."
The spy's parents Ian and Ellen were on holiday in Toronto, Canada, celebrating Mrs Williams' 50th birthday when they learned of their son's death, the inquest heard.
Relatives of the 31-year-old have demanded to find out if his death was covered up by secret services - and why the alarm was not raised when he failed to turn up to work.
The case has left some fearing "some agency specialising in the dark arts" will leave them with no way of knowing how and why he died.
They believe someone was either present when he died or broke into his home afterwards to destroy the evidence.
By the time officers arrived at his flat, his body was so decomposed that evidence had been lost.
The first officer to set foot into the spy's home after he had not been seen for 12 days was PC John Gallagher.
He was let into the flat and told the inquest that one of the first items he spotted in the living room was a woman's wig.
"My attention was drawn to a lady's wig hanging on one of the corners of a chair," he said.
When the officer walked into the bathroom, he saw a red, bulging, padlocked sports bag in the bath, and only became overwhelmed by the smell of a rotting corpse when he tried to lift it.
"At this point I am realising it is something serious and my concern was to not damage anything in a crime scene," he said.
Several intelligence agents have been granted anonymity at the inquest.
Dr Wilcox said there was "a real risk of harm" to national security and international relations if some of those giving evidence about Mr Williams were exposed.
She also said no evidence will be given in secret, behind closed doors, despite the "highly controversial" nature of Mr Williams' death.
Dr Wilcox, who has previously expressed frustration at police over DNA errors, is expected to hear from 30 witnesses over five days.
She has said that whether Mr Williams was alive inside the bag and locked it himself is "at the very heart of this inquiry".
The coroner has indicated she wants to see a demonstration of how Mr Williams might have got into the bag and locked it himself.
Scotland Yard has not been able to conclude whether he died at the hands of a third party or not.
He was found in a large North Face holdall, sealed by a padlock, at his top-floor flat in Alderney Street.
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 prodigy, from Anglesey, North Wales, worked as a cipher and codes expert for GCHQ, the government listening station, but had been on secondment with MI6 since March 2010.
The inquest will hear that Mr Williams may have died after breathing in too much carbon dioxide.