Session 8. Thursday Afternoon, April 26, 2012

SESSION 8. Thursday Afternoon, April 26, 2012
13:13@skynewsgathererCoroner is dealing with a couple of other inquests before continuing with investigation into death of Gareth Williams
13:17@skynewsgathererStephen Gale now called to give evidence in Gareth Williams inquest
WITNESS: Stephen Gale
13:18@skynewsgathererMr Gale is retired GCHQ officer. He was director of strategy who liaised with Whitehall and looked after HR and personal security
13:20@skynewsgathererMr Gale says he had no personal connection to Gareth and is here to represent GCHQ
13:25@skynewsgathererGareth had attended two 'Black Hat' technical security conferences in Las Vegas in August 2008 and July 2010, inquest hears
13:26@skynewsgathererMr Gale says he doesn't know whether members of criminal fraternity also attend the security conferences
13:27@skynewsgathererMr Gales says the conferences are still deemed as low risk. The same as working in the UK
13:29@skynewsgathererMr Gales says Gareth returned to UK on Aug 11th and visited London office on Thursday 12th
13:30@stone_skynewsDetail now on conference in Las Vegas which Gareth Williams attended 2 weeks before he was found dead
13:30@skynewsgathererGareth was given secondment to SIS in late 2008 after his first application in 2007 was turned down
13:32@stone_skynewsInquest hearing now from Stephen Gale, retired GCHQ officer, was Director of Strategy, liaised w/ Whitehall, dealt with personal security
13:32@skynewsgathererGareth won two awards during his career. One posthumously in 2010 for technical work
13:34@skynewsgathererThe other for work done in 2009 which was for a particular programme described as a 'Herculean effort for an extraordinary team'
13:34@stone_skynewsInquest hears that Gareth Williams team won an award for "a Herculean effort by an extraordinary team" in cryptology. A very bright man
13:36@skynewsgathererGareth was a GC10 which is graduate entry grade. He quickly progressed to GC9. The post at SIS was GC8. He got an 11% increase in pay
13:37@skynewsgathererGale says that GCHQ paid for the rent on Gareth's flat as part of the deal in moving to London
13:37@skynewsgathererMr Gale says that the 20k of women's clothes would have taken up a large chunk of salary even for someone with no rent or car to pay for
13:45@skynewsgathererMr Gale confirms that leave is agreed verbally with boss and then formalised on card for HR records
13:50@skynewsgathererGCHQ confirms it pays accommodation but allows staff to choose it. It recommends that they use approved lettings agency
13:51@skynewsgathererGareth's flat was rented under same terms as other staff. It was chosen by him. GCHQ does not chose or inspect accommodation
13:52@skynewsgathererMr Gale confirms that Gareth's flat was not a safe house
13:56@skynewsgathererFrom pervious job ads looks like a GC08 grade GCHQ worker gets just under 40k a year. Gareth spent 20k on women's clothes
14:02@skynewsgathererWitness confirms that GCHQ did not conduct any investigations into death and said it was a matter for the police
14:17@skynewsgathererMr Gale confirms there were no leaks to the media following Gareth's death from GCHQ
14:17@skynewsgathererNo investigation was carried out by GCHQ about possible leaks to the media, Mr Gale
14:20@skynewsgathererMr Gale has finished his evidence. Next up is Denise Stanworth, a toxicologist
WITNESS: Denise Stanworth
14:22@skynewsgathererMs Stanworth is a forensic scientist from private firm LGC, she looked at blood, liver and body fluid samples
14:23@skynewsgathererCourt hears how Gareth's hair was also examined for any drug use before his death - it tested negative
14:25@skynewsgathererInquest hears how 'extensive' analysis was done on Gareth including tests for poison
14:25@skynewsgathererGareth's blood contained alcohol and GHB
14:27@skynewsgathererAlcohol level was 78/100ml, which is consistent with the body having produced it. Inquest hears
14:29@skynewsgathererThe drug GHB was also found in Gareth's urine
14:31@skynewsgathererGHB in blood could have naturally occurred after death. Had it been taken before death scientist thinks levels would be higher
14:33@skynewsgatherer'Ingestion of GHB cannot be ruled out but I think it would be unlikely,' says witness
14:37@skynewsgathererGareth also had low levels of codeine in blood but scientist says he would not have been under any influence of painkiller
14:39@skynewsgathererGareth's body was tested for cyanide and a range of other poisons - all negative
14:43@skynewsgathererScientist can't rule out certain drugs being used given Gareth may have been dead for 9 days before PM examination
14:45@skynewsgathererScientist says she can't rule out use of 'poppers' because of amount of time passed before tests
14:53@skynewsgathererScientist says toxicology for volatile drugs after 9 days is 'not that reliable'. Would be reliable for some drugs though
14:54@skynewsgathererScientist says the use of an unusual poison cannot be ruled out but is unlikely
14:56@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer now questioning forensic scientist
14:59@skynewsgathererInquest hears that being in the bag, with the heating on in August, would have accelerated decomposition
15:31@skynewsgathererInquest resumes. Next will be read statement of Dr Jennifer Miller, a stomach contents analysis
STATEMENT FROM: Jennifer Miller
15:35@skynewsgathererScientist suggests Gareth ate the peppered steak he had bought before he died
15:37@skynewsgathererGareth was likely to have died between 3 to 5 hours after he ate the steak
15:46@skynewsgathererEnd of today's evidence in the inquest. Tomorrow we expect to hear from a 'bag expert' and possibly DNA experts
END OF SESSION 8. Thursday Afternoon, April 26, 2012

Link to source of April 26 coverage