The inquiry into Gareth Williams’ death is finally underway and the media are finally paying attention to it. The Guardian, the Indie, the Mail and the Beeb all have reports, but I’ll quote from the Telegraph’s…

Gareth Williams could not have locked the bag from the inside, meaning a “third party” must have done it, according to a lawyer representing his family.

Relatives believe his death in 2010 may have been linked to his work at MI6, where he had recently qualified for “operational deployment”, and that fingerprints, DNA and other evidence was wiped from the scene in a deliberate cover up.

Police have always said they were keeping an open mind on whether the 31-year-old codebreaker was murdered or died as a result of an accident, possibly during a bizarre sex game.

But at an interim hearing ahead of the full inquest into his death, Westminster Coroner’s Court in London was told that a delay by MI6 in notifying police of his disappearance meant a post-mortem examination had been “ineffective” and the cause of his death remained unclear.

A series of blunders, including a mix-up over DNA found at the scene, had also hampered the inquiry, Dr Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, was told.

The police haven’t seemed to have kept an open mind. In fact, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell said, “This is not linked to his work – it’s his private life.” This, along with a host of dubious police claims about the man’s alleged homosexuality, tranvestism and interest in bondage, prompted reporters to indulge in lurid speculation about his demise being a sex game gone wrong, a murder carried out by a boyfriend or even the result of a bizarre art experiment. The Telegraph’s own Victoria Ward issued a vile piece on how his supposed “bondage fetish may be related to childhood”; a “childhood trauma”, indeed, that forced him to seek “accept[ance] and nurture” elsewhere. An apology might be a tad late now, but I wonder if the Williams family would consider suing.

The family themselves believe…

The unknown third party was a member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services, and perhaps evidence was removed from the scene post mortem by an expert in those dark arts.

The latter claim was doubtless prompted by reports that there were no fingerprints or DNA at the scene, and that the door had been removed and, apparently, the knob detached.The heating, we learned earlier, had also been cranked up to intensify the decomposition of the body.

The investigators, who claim to have spent a year basing inquiries around DNA that turns out to have been left by one of their own forensic scientists, and a mysterious pair of Mediterranean suspects who are now said to have been completely irrelevant, seem to have raised a lot more questions than they’ve answered. The spooks, meanwhile, refuse to detail the nature of Williams’ work because, yes, it might “endanger national security”. They’ve yet to explain why, despite Williams failing to appear at work for several days, they failed to check the “safe house” where he’d lived and where his body lay. It was left to his sister to raise the alarm.

The investigation is as much a scandal as the death, and, as the inquest continues, they both remain mysterious and frightening.

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