Session 12. Monday Afternoon, April 30, 2012

SESSION 12. Monday Afternoon, April 30, 2012
13:37@skynewsgathererForensic scientist Ros Hammond now giving evidence
WITNESS: Ros Hammond
13:39@skynewsgathererMs Hammond is explaining that DNA on Gareth's hand was actually from fellow scientist. Error was only discovered on Feb 8 2012
13:48@skynewsgathererMs Hammond says it is first time she has come across this sort of error - it was mistake in manually inputting data into system
13:51@skynewsgathererScientist got a 3 and 5 mixed up. There are now automatic computer checks in place to prevent it happening again, inquest told
13:59@skynewsgathererThere's evidence from at least 2 other unaccounted for people in Gareth's flat, says scientist
14:00@skynewsgathererHowever Ms Hammond says DNA can last for weeks, even years
14:01@skynewsgathererBlood stain on bag and carpet came from Gareth, scientist tells inquest
14:02@skynewsgathererAll other DNA stains tested gave a profile which matched Gareth's inquest told
14:03@skynewsgathererThere was DNA on bag handles which was not Gareth's but no clear profile found, inquest told
14:13@skynewsgathererWitness says DNA tests on a towel are still ongoing which could prove helpful in a future criminal trial
14:14@skynewsgathererTests on towel will be concluded "within weeks" says Ms Hammond
14:18@skynewsgathererWitness says that if someone else locked the padlock, she would not necessarily expect to find their DNA
14:20@skynewsgathererDNA is transferred at a different level depending on circumstances, eg: whether hands had been recently washed and type of surface
14:22@skynewsgathererSteve Allen, who is responsible for running LGC forensics division, is now giving evidence
WITNESS: Steve Allen
14:24@skynewsgathererCoroner says the mistake in inputting data was an "error waiting to happen" and asks why safe guards were not in place
14:29@skynewsgathererGary Pugh, head of Met Police forensics, now up. He says DNA presented to court can be relied upon
WITNESS: Gary Pugh
14:33@skynewsgathererEvidence in Gareth Williams inquest now finished for today. Coroner says she hopes to give her verdict Wednesday
END OF SESSION 12. Monday Afternoon, April 30, 2012

Link to source of April 30 coverage

Session 11. Monday Morning, April 30, 2012

SESSION 11. Monday Morning, April 30, 2012
9:04@skynewsgathererGareth's body was removed from the bottom of the bag - not via the zipped opening
9:05@skynewsgathererTwo hairs were found on Gareth's thumb
9:08@skynewsgathererDr Swift says that if someone was already dead when moved there would be no bruising
WITNESS: Benjamin Swift
9:09@skynewsgathererDr Swift says that in cases of smothering there are often no marks left
9:11@skynewsgathererDr Swift found a 0.6cm bruise to left forearm, graze to left elbow and 0.7 graze to right elbow, and inner left eye socket
9:12@skynewsgathererDr Swift says injuries likely to have been caused after death due to position in the bag
9:14@skynewsgathererNo injuries in Gareth's neck, or head, there were 3 internal bruises to loin, elbow and right chest wall. No bruising around wrists
9:17@skynewsgathererDr Swift says injuries could have been caused accidentally. No signs of obvious poisoning
9:18@skynewsgathererNo obvious signs of natural disease
9:19@skynewsgathererPathologist: No significant traumatic injury, no injuries of offensive or defence nature, no sexual assault
9:20@skynewsgathererPathologist Dr Swift could not confirm cause of death
9:21@skynewsgathererPathologist tells coroner there we no signs from Gareth's finger tips that he tried to get out the bag
9:23@skynewsgathererCause of death could not be ascertained due to decomposition of Gareth's body, pathologist says
9:26@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer now asking questions about how decomposition affected results of PM. Inquest hears how the heating was on in August
9:27@skynewsgathererDr Swift refuses to speculate on what might have caused Gareth's death
9:29@skynewsgathererWhen pushed Dr says asphyxiation and poison were two 'foremost contenders' to be most likely cause of death
9:33@skynewsgathererExperienced pathologist Dr Ian Calder performed 2nd PM
WITNESS: Ian Calder
9:35@skynewsgathererDr Calder says he agrees with Dr Swift that if Gareth had been moved after death he wouldn't have sustained bruises
9:36@skynewsgathererDr Calder agrees that cause of death was 'unascertained'
9:40@skynewsgathererDr Calder explains that it's not so much the lack of oxygen in bag - but the build up of carbon dioxide
9:42@skynewsgathererCO2 makes people confused which would make someone 'fade away with no pain and increasing lack of awareness of environment' says witness
9:46@skynewsgathererDr Calder says 'very likely' cause of death was hypercapnia (too much carbon dioxide in blood)
9:54@skynewsgathererDr Richard Shepherd, acting for the coroner, now giving evidence. He agrees with other 2 pathologists
WITNESS: Richard Shepherd
9:55@skynewsgathererDr Shepherd found no patterns of injuries and no restraining injuries
9:56@skynewsgathererDr Shepherd says it would have been 'extremely difficult' to place a newly dead body into the bag
9:57@skynewsgathererDr Shepherd says a person 'playing dead' is not same as an actual dead body. His experience is that it would be 'very difficult process'
9:58@skynewsgathererDr says that if Gareth was alive going in bag he would have expected some 'gripping injuries'
9:59@skynewsgathererDr says it's more likely that Gareth was alive when he entered the bag than dead
10:01@skynewsgathererDr agrees 'mode of dying' was most likely carbon dioxide
10:03@skynewsgathererDr says two possibilities of cause of death were suffocation or poisoning
10:05@skynewsgathererInquest hears that although cause of death is unascertained Gareth's death is 'unnatural'
10:09@stone_skynewsPathologist says in his opinion Gareth Williams death was unnatural and caused either by poisoning or suffocation because of too much CO2
10:09@skynewsgathererDr Shepherd says it is possible that Gareth voluntarily got into the bag
10:11@skynewsgathererDr: Gareth would probably have been aware oxygen was running out but not known at what stage this would happen
10:13@skynewsgathererPathologist suggesting Gareth would have known air was running out but he may already have been too affected by Co2 to do anything about it
10:16@skynewsgathererTo sum up - on balance of probability Gareth was alive getting into bag and would have had some awareness, says witness
10:17@skynewsgathererOn balance of probability the mode of dying was hypercapnia but cause of death unascertained
10:25@skynewsgathererPathologists says the youngest & fittest can survive hypercapnia the longest
10:26@skynewsgathererInquest taking short break. Then will hear from forensic scientists on DNA evidence
10:58@skynewsgathererInquest resumes with evidence from coroner officer's Barry May
WITNESS: Barry May
10:59@skynewsgathererMr May was asked to investigate by previous coroner after family raised concerns about 2nd PM examination
11:02@skynewsgathererRequest for 2nd independent PM didn't follow protocol due to inexperience of a worker the coroner's office
11:07@skynewsgathererPolice, family and first pathologist weren't told of 2nd examination when they should have been
11:12@skynewsgathererInquest told of 'communication breakdown' in the former coroner's office in regard to 2nd PM examination
11:16@skynewsgathererStatement now from Tony Larkin, a scientist from forensic firm LGC. He looked of bloodstains, DNA and hairs
WITNESS: Tony Larkin
11:19@skynewsgathererMr Larkin found a spot of blood near lights switch and an 'aged' spot of blood on the floor
11:23@skynewsgathererMr Larkin says possible bloodstain on bag - but very weak result
11:24@skynewsgathererAlso weak blood spot on the padlock
11:26@skynewsgathererMr Larkin actually works for Met Police - witness list was incorrect
11:36@skynewsgathererInquest hears that an error in logging DNA means that Gareth's family thought there was evidence of 3rd party
11:37@skynewsgathererDNA was actually from another scientist - error was only found when case was reviewed
11:41@skynewsgathererInquest now adjourned until 2pm
END OF SESSION 11. Monday Morning, April 30, 2012

Link to source of April 30 coverage

Session 10. Friday Afternoon, April 27, 2012

SESSION 10. Friday Afternoon, April 27, 2012
14:41@tomskynewsInquest hears laptop belonging to Gareth Williams accessed Wikipedia page about bondage and had stored electronic images of a drag queen
14:50@skynewsgathererBack at inquest. Witness is DC Robert Burrows who examined Gareth's phones
WITNESS: Robert Burrows
14:55@skynewsgathererThere were no signs phone had been called on 17th Aug. (MI6 said they had tried to contact Gareth when he failed to show for work)
14:56@skynewsgathererPhone most used by Gareth was discovered in cabinet in living room. Again no calls made to it on 17+20 Aug
14:58@skynewsgathererWitness corrects himself and says 3 calls made to that number - all from intelligence services on 20th. None on 17th
15:04@skynewsgathererGareth accessed fetish clothing websites on one of his iPhones on Sept 15 2009
15:05@skynewsgathererA couple of days later he looked up a different fetish clothing website
15:06@skynewsgathererGareth only looked at a few fetish pages which made up 2% of browsing history. He mostly looked at cycling, weather, IT and fashion
15:08@skynewsgathererIn Oct 2009 there were multiple hits on 'self bondage' and fetish clothing websites on Gareth's phone
15:09@skynewsgathererDeleted data from a different phone shows Gareth looked up a different self bondage website
15:10@skynewsgathererBrowsing on Gareth's main phone shows that on aug 13 2010 a fetish clothing website was accessed
15:12@skynewsgathererOn work iPhone there was a link to a photo of model wrapped in plastic with vacuum cleaner sucking air out of plastic
15:12@skynewsgathererExpert says that there were no photos involving bags, but one of someone tied to bed
15:15@skynewsgathererImage found on one phone of someone who appears to be Gareth naked apart from pair of leather boots
15:17@skynewsgathererExpert says the browsing of bondage and fetish sites is inconsistent. The last sites accessed were from a cycling club
15:19@skynewsgathererOne iPhone found had been restored to factory settings, the phone was backed up on Aug 15. Can't say when wiped
15:21@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer asking if any correlation between Gareth looking at fetish sites and when Gareth was on SIS course
15:22@skynewsgathererExpert admits access to fetish sites are 'out of character' when compared to general browsing
15:25@skynewsgathererWitness on phone evidence has now finished. Statement now from Gareth's line manager at GCHQ
WITNESS: Gareth's line manager at GCHQ
15:28@skynewsgathererLine manager says Gareth seemed happy the last time he spoke with him
15:31@skynewsgathererInquest told that pathologists will give evidence on Monday
15:33@skynewsgathererInquest into death of Gareth Williams adjourned until 0930 Monday
15:37@tomskynewsInquest into death of MI6 officer Gareth Williams over now til Monday - report coming up on @skynews
15:39@skynewsgathererCoroner says verdict in Gareth Williams inquest expected on Wednesday
END OF SESSION 10. Friday Afternoon, April 27, 2012

Link to source of April 27 coverage

Session 9. Friday Morning, April 27, 2012

SESSION 9. Friday Morning, April 27, 2012
9:34@rachyoungerskyMorning. Covering inquest into death of MI6 officer Gareth Williams. Expecting demo of whether possible he locked himself inside bag
9:34@rachyoungerskyCoroner calls William MacKay who says nature of his work to investigate unusual occurrences in confined spaces
WITNESS: William MacKay
9:34@rachyoungerskyMacKay says v flexible young man who carried out reconstruction managed to get in to bag without help or instruction at first attempt
9:34@rachyoungerskyinquest shown film of how man did so - mackay explains how poss to lock bag first then manually make space to allow person to enter
9:34@rachyoungerskyMacKay then explains how found it to be impossible when attempted to lock bag after getting in
9:34@rachyoungerskyMacKay says unless individual manages to get into locked bag at very first attempt, pen used to manipulate zip would damage it
9:35@skynewsgathererFirst witness is William MacKay, who was asked by police to try and reconstruct getting into a bag
9:36@skynewsgathererMr MacKay, who has military background, also asked to investigate how well someone could breathe in closed bag
9:36@skynewsgathererInquest now watching DVD of someone in a bag like the one Gareth Williams was found in
9:36@skynewsgathererIt shows fingers pulling zip closed from the inside
9:36@skynewsgathererNext clip shows the bag locked from the outside before anyone gets in and then the zip forced open with a pen
9:36@skynewsgathererThe man then gets in and tries to close the zip behind him
9:36@skynewsgathererThe 3rd experiment was to try and lock the zip whilst inside the bag - it couldn't be done
9:36@skynewsgathererExperts says that if someone had got in after forcing the zip open - the zip was damaged when it was closed
9:39@skynewsgathererExpert says he tried experiments on the bag more than a 100 times
9:43@rachyoungerskyMacKay says only way to train for this would be with assistant or taking knife into bag with you. Coroner points out £700 bag to cut
9:44@skynewsgathererExpert essentially saying that to lock the bag from the inside the person would have needed 3 hands
9:46@skynewsgathererExperts found that due to lack of oxygen after a few mins they had to rest, the lock then dropped and they had to start it all again
9:47@rachyoungerskyMacKay showing court picture of lock and zip to show how 3 Actions needed: hold zip together, hold lock, lock bar but only 2 hands
9:50@skynewsgathererOne cord attached to the zipper was also in usual position - which the expert says would have made locking the bag even harder
9:50@rachyoungerskyMacKay says when they tried both he+assistant lost dexterity in fingers, had to rest momentarily, meant starting locking process anew
9:53@rachyoungerskyMacKay says Williams prowess as rock climber would mean tremendous power developed in his fingers which would have aided his ability
9:56@skynewsgathererInquest hears at times experts got reasonably close to locking bag - but thinks without a lot of training it couldn't be done
9:57@skynewsgatherer'There are people around that can do amazing things,' expert tells inquest
9:58@rachyoungerskyMacKay refuses to rule out possibility that Williams could have locked himself in to bag as found at scene using this scenario
10:00@skynewsgathererExpert has refused to rule out the possibility that Gareth Williams locked himself in the bag
10:05@skynewsgathererExpert says that if someone wanted to get out of the locked bag, 'with adrenaline running', they would find a way
10:06@skynewsgatherer'There would be an option of saving yourself,' says expert
10:06@rachyoungerskyMacKay showing video illustrating how possible once locked in to open zip small amount to greatly increase flow of oxygen
10:08@rachyoungerskyMacKay: We found it difficult to pull much further than this - I would offer if adrenalin kicked in you would find way to do it
10:11@skynewsgathererExpert says someone of Gareth Williams size would have had no problem getting into the bag
10:12@rachyoungerskyMacKay shows still of best position to be in bag to get out, points out on side ideal. "This was not the position he was found in"
10:16@skynewsgathererExpert says he has lost sleep trying to work out why the zip cord was in unusual position
10:22@rachyoungerskyinquest shown still of experts elbow area with red patches - if enough attempts made "should be red area on skin"
10:27@skynewsgathererExpert tested whether he could breathe in the bag by getting in it in a swimming pool
10:32@skynewsgathererMr MacKay now answering questions from family lawyer. Expert confirms he never managed to lock himself in bag unaided
10:34@rachyoungerskyunder questioning from family lawyer MacKay clarifies neither he nor assistant ever managed to lock themselves in to bag
10:38@skynewsgathererMr MacKay saying that if someone wanted to survive they could have opened bag from the inside
10:47@rachyoungerskyMacKay says if you were an escapologist you would pull it (the bag) open, grab the key and everyone would be amazed
10:55@tomskynewsThe footage of the tests to see if it was possible for a person to lock themselves into a holdall coming up shortly on @skynews
10:57@tomskynewsConclusion of first "bag expert" is that is was very very difficult for someone to lock themselves into holdall but couldn't rule it out
11:08@skynewsgathererSecond bag expert now giving evidence. It's Peter Faulding, who is similar size to Gareth Williams
11:09@rachyoungerskynext bag expert Peter Faulding (apt name!) now describing how he climbed into a similar bag
WITNESS: Peter Faulding
11:10@skynewsgathererMr Faulding, placed a bag similar to the one found a flat, in a bath and tried to get in it
11:11@skynewsgathererDVD shows Mr Faulding lying on his back, on the bag, and trying to manoeuvre himself in
11:12@skynewsgathererDVD shows Mr Faulding struggling to get in, he touches bath, tiles and rests feet on the taps in process
11:13@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says he wants to make it clear that it would dangerous to attempt to 'try this at home'
11:15@rachyoungerskyPeter Faulding, expert whose name you couldnt make up, shows DVD contorting himself into bag. Tells press to warn public not to try it
11:17@rachyoungerskyyou can see footage inquest has been watching on sky news now as coroner has released it to media
11:18@skynewsgathererExpert says that being in a bath made the bag harder to get into. Once in, temperature rose fast
11:21@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says he can't say it's impossible to lock the bag from the inside but 'even Houdini would struggle with this one'
11:23@skynewsgathererWhen pushed Mr Faulding says it would have been impossible for Gareth to get into the bag, in the bath, unaided without leaving any marks
11:26@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says that one person could have easily lifted the bag with Gareth's body into the bath without leaving marks
11:27@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says that it would have been very, very easy to put Gareth into the bag if he was unconscious or dead
11:29@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says that if the key had just dropped from the padlock it would be unlikely to have ended up where it did
11:32@skynewsgathererExperiment on oxygen levels in the bag showed that amount of oxygen decreased rapidly after 5 mins
11:33@skynewsgathererOxygen level dropped to just 17%
11:34@skynewsgathererMr Faulding thinks that Gareth could have survived a maximum of 30 mins in the bag
11:35@skynewsgathererMr Faulding says it would be impossible to get into bag in scenario Gareth found in
11:36@skynewsgathererExpert: 'Why would you climb into bag in the bath?.... I believe he was placed in the bag by a 3rd party'
11:38@skynewsgathererExpert tells Gareth Williams inquest that he believes Gareth was placed in bag by 3rd party
11:40@skynewsgathererInquest adjourned while officers prepare 999 call tape for the court. Back at 2pm
END OF SESSION 9. Friday Morning, April 27, 2012

Link to source of April 27 coverage

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

Session 7. Thursday Morning, April 26, 2012

SESSION 7. Thursday Morning, April 26, 2012
8:37@skynewsgathererBack to inquest with @skymartinbrunt and @Stone_SkyNews. Expect to hear from more SIS staff
8:42@skymartinbruntUnexplained delay at start of today's hearing
8:42@skynewsgathererDelay to start of Gareth Williams inquest. Media not allowed into the annexe
8:47@skymartinbruntHearing about to start. Screens up to hide spook witnesses we are not allowed to identify
8:49@skynewsgathererAllowed back into the media room. Blue screens still up in court to protect identity of next witness called SIS F
8:52@skymartinbruntFirst witness is MI6 woman officer known as 'F'
8:52@skynewsgathererSIS F had no contact with Gareth - but is here to represent secret service, inquest told
8:53@skynewsgathererWitness says SIS first became aware of Gareth's death on evening of 23rd
8:54@skymartinbruntShe never met Gareth but knows all about him from MI6 files
8:55@skymartinbruntshe says no MI6 officers went into his flat before or after body discoverd. Nor did counter terror cops or other agencies
8:55@skynewsgathererWitness says no MI6 officers went into the flat before or after the discovery of Gareth's body
8:57@skymartinbruntNo evidence spooks involved in cover up of his death
8:58@stone_skynewsThe Gareth Williams inquest now hearing from witness known only as SIS F, out of sight behind screen. The female is MI6 Intelligence officer
8:59@skymartinbruntGareth originally rejected in bid to move on secondment to MI6. Later successful
8:59@stone_skynewsSIS F had never met Gareth Williams. She is here to provide more information about his professional life. Perhaps more info on what he did?
9:01@stone_skynewsSIS F says she has "no knowledge" of any cover-up by MI6 & that a cover-up would be outside MI6 remit anyway. Gareth Williams
9:01@skymartinbruntGareth was highly skilled with an able technical brain
9:04@skymartinbruntZero risk to him from contact with MI6 recruited agents. His work did not require him to dress in women's clothing says witness
9:04@stone_skynewsSIS F says Gareth Williams work did not involve him having to dress in women's clothing. (£20,000 of women's clothes found at flat)
9:11@skynewsgathererMI6 witnesses telling inquest about courses and training Gareth received
9:12@skynewsgathererGareth had failed a course on operational deployment because 'he didn't reach the standards required'
9:12@skynewsgathererGareth then retook the course and passed. Tutor had said his improvement had been 'immense'
9:13@skynewsgathererGareth only worked operationally in the UK. He had never travelled to Russia or Afghanistan as suggested in media
9:14@stone_skynewsSIS F says that media reports suggesting that Gareth Williams had been to Afghanistan & Russia are wrong. He had never been to either
9:16@skynewsgathererGareth was carrying out work with low level of risk, says MI6 witness. He was not trained or experienced enough to work overseas
9:20@skymartinbruntQuite rare for GCHQ staff to leave MI6 secondment early
9:22@skymartinbruntMI6 very satisfied with Gareth's work
9:22@stone_skynewsThe inquest is hearing about Gareth Williams professional life now, but the crux of the whole case remains whether he could have locked himself in the bag
9:22@stone_skynewsThe cop in charge of the investigation - which remains open - says the key question is could Gareth Williams have locked himself into the holdall
9:22@skynewsgathererWitness describes Gareth as a fully deployable highly talented officer. No evidence he had been pulled off job
9:22@skynewsgathererQuestions now turn to where Gareth was living
9:23@skynewsgathererThe flat was let through a GCHQ approved letting agency. It was not a 'safe house' says witness
9:23@skymartinbruntHis flat was not MI6 safe house says witness
9:24@stone_skynewsCoroner asks SIS F if Gareth Williams flat in Pimlico was a 'safe house' as some speculation has suggested. "It was not" says SIS F
9:25@skymartinbruntHe made very substantial contribution to MI6 work
9:26@skynewsgathererGareth was a very pleasant individual, but intensely private and not someone who workmates would socialise with, says witness
9:28@skymartinbruntMI6 colleagues found him good colleague but intensely private and didn't socialise with them even in shared interests
9:29@skymartinbruntNo concerns over his vetting. He was considered low risk
9:32@skymartinbruntCoroner asks if MI6 staff should report contact with anyone from Kurdistan. Witness said she couldn't answer that
9:33@skynewsgathererWitness now explaining vetting process. Gareth raised no issues prior to his death
9:34@stone_skynewsHints again of restrictions to Gareth Williams inquest. SIS F hesitates before answering question about countries which could be threat to UK
9:34@skynewsgathererMI6 officer says Gareth had no requirement to tell SIS about his interest in clothes or his design course
9:35@skynewsgathererWitness says she can't answer whether Gareth should have told SIS if he had contact with someone from Kurdistan
9:36@skynewsgathererMI6 officer says she can't answer whether Gareth should have told his friends that he used different names
9:37@skynewsgathererGareth made small number of unauthorised searches of SIS database, inquest told
9:37@skymartinbruntGareth did some unauthorised database searches. Not unheard of
9:38@skynewsgathererMI6 officers says this happens from time to time and can often be explained
9:40@skynewsgathererWitness says that if Gareth was doing something against policy, and 3rd party knew about, they could put pressure on him
9:40@stone_skynewsSIS F explains that MI6 officers must tell manager if they develop friendship with individuals from countries seen as a threat to UK
9:40@stone_skynewsCoroner asks whether friendship with an individual from US would require clearance..
9:40@stone_skynewsSIS F says she's not sure if she can answer it. Pauses. Then says no - US friendship would not require clearance
9:40@stone_skynewsCoroner then asks about friendship with individual from Kurdistan. Would officer have to tell bosses about that. SIS F says she can't answer
9:40@skynewsgathererWitness doesn't believe though that unauthorised searches put Gareth at risk
9:41@skymartinbruntNo evidence his unauthorised database searches were known to any hostile third party or were related to his death
9:42@skynewsgathererInquest heard earlier in week that Gareth may have had contact with man from Kurdistan through friend Elizabeth Guthrie
9:43@skynewsgathererMI6 witness tells inquest that she had no reason to think death of Gareth Williams was connected to his work
9:44@skymartinbruntMI6 review a year after his death concluded his death not connected with his work says witness
9:48@skymartinbruntNo threat to Gareth from any foreign intel service or agency and he hadn't been recognised or targeted by anyone
9:48@stone_skynewsCoroner asks whether SIS thought any foreign Intel organisation represented a threat to Gareth Williams. Witness SIS F says "No"
9:50@skynewsgathererWitness admits it 'clearly took far too long' to report Gareth missing. She says it was because policies were not communicated properly
9:51@skymartinbruntWitness says MI6 took far too long to check in him when he didn't turn up at work a week before body found
9:52@skynewsgathererWitness F says Gareth's boss should have told line manager and welfare department he had not shown up for work
9:53@stone_skynewsCoroner asks what comment SIS has for fact that Gareth Williams was not reported meeting for a week. SIS F: "It clearly took far too long"
9:53@stone_skynewsSIS F: "There were processes & policies in place. Clearly they were not followed. They haven't been communicated & trained strongly enough."
9:53@stone_skynewsWitness SIS F is strongly suggesting that Gareth Williams line manager, Witness G, failed to follow procedure for when officer is missing
9:53@skynewsgathererWitness says there should be 'greater clarity between GCHQ and SIS' about who is responsible for employees
9:54@skynewsgathererCoroner says she struggles to understand how a team which is supposed to be 'first class' didn't know what each other were doing
9:55@skymartinbruntCoroner says she struggling to understand how high-tech team didn't use electronic diary to know what exactly each other was doing
9:56@skynewsgathererCoroner says there's evidence of a complete break down in communication in relation to Gareth. MI6 witness agrees
9:56@skymartinbruntCoroner says there was complete breakdown of communication at MI6 over Gareth's absence
9:57@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer now asking about whether aspects of Gareth's private life would 'render him unsuitable for SIS work'
9:58@skynewsgathererWitness says vetting looks at 'trustworthiness and reliability - not about lifestyle or sexual preferences or choices which are legitimate'
10:00@skymartinbruntAnyone can have sex and lifestyle preferences and it's up to them to discuss it with vetting team for assessment
10:04@stone_skynewsFamily lawyer asks about vetting for Gareth Williams - SIS F says she can't specifically comment on vetting for Gareth
10:06@stone_skynewsFamily lawyer refers to suggestions in media (about Gareth Williams' possible sexual preferences) which could render him "unusable for SIS"
10:06@stone_skynewsSIS F says vetting looks at 'trustworthiness and reliability' - not lifestyle, sexual preferences or choices which are legitimate
10:06@skynewsgathererMI6 says they understood Gareth's reasons for wanting to leave London and go back to GCHQ
10:08@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer now asking again about Gareth's flat - letting agents told lawyer the tenant was 'secretary of state'
10:12@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer asks whether it would be fairer to say searches of database we 'unexplained' rather than 'unauthorised'. Witness agrees
10:13@skynewsgathererMI6 witness says the agency didn't launch its own investigation into Gareth's death as it was clearly a matter for police
10:16@skynewsgathererWitness says SIS are 'profoundly sorry' for delay in finding Gareth. Delay meant limited forensic evidence gathered from body
10:17@skynewsgathererImpact of Gareth's death means that everyone at SIS are now aware of responsibilities, says witness
10:18@skynewsgathererWitness also acknowledges that delay in finding Gareth made it even harder for his family
10:18@skymartinbruntWitness accepts delays in investigating his absence frustrated police investigation and caused more grief for family
10:18@stone_skynewsWitness SIS F: "MI6 are profoundly sorry about what happened [delay in reporting Gareth Williams missing] It shouldn't have happened."
10:18@stone_skynewsWitness SIS F: "We recognise the delay in finding Gareth Williams body has made it harder to come to terms with his death."
10:19@skynewsgathererInquest adjourned as family breaks down after hearing no disciplinary action was taken against Gareth's boss
10:20@skymartinbruntFamily member walks out in flood of tears as lawyer accuses Gareth Boss of total disregard for his welfare and safety in not reporting absence
10:20@stone_skynewsFamily of Gareth Williams leave court in tears as SIS F says no disciplinary action taken against officer who failed to report him missing
10:20@skynewsgathererGareth's boss, witness G, took a week to report him missing, the inquest heard yesterday
10:21@skymartinbruntInquest briefly adjourns because of family distress
10:22@stone_skynewsFamily lawyer for Gareth Williams had suggested that Witness G - who failed to report him missing - had "total disregard for his welfare"
10:23@stone_skynewsThis whole inquest must be extremely hard for Gareth Williams family. Every possible aspect of his personal & professional live is examined
10:24@skymartinbruntFamily lawyer says police investigation was defeated by MI6 failure to report Gareth's absence
10:25@skymartinbruntWitness says alarm should have been raised within two to four hours. It took eight days
10:26@skymartinbruntWitness says no disciplinary action was taken against Gareth's boss for not reporting his absence early as he should have done
10:31@skynewsgathererMI6 says they did not leak information to the media that Gareth looked up bondage websites
10:33@skymartinbruntWitness denies MI6 leaked to media details of Gareths computer searches of bondage websites
10:34@skynewsgathererMI6 witness says that if the police had asked for written signed witness statements they would have obliged
10:36@skymartinbruntWitnees denies anyone interfered with any of Gareth's electronic devices before handing to police
10:37@skynewsgathererMI6 confirms that all electronic devices used by Gareth were made available to police
10:37@skynewsgathererMI6 says that no one from agency entered Gareth's flat between 16+23 Aug
10:37@stone_skynewsWe still don't know categorically whether info about Gareth Williams looking at bondage websites is true or not. Discussed, not confirmed
10:39@skymartinbruntWitness says no spooks went into his flat between his first work absence and body discovery eight days later
10:39@skynewsgathererSIS F witness now finished. She is the last anonymous witness. Screens now being taken down. Inquest resumes at 1200
10:46@stone_skynewsAnonymous witnesses in Gareth Williams inquest done now. Courtroom screens removed. Next up: HR manager at GCHQ & another GCHQ employee
10:47@skymartinbruntScreens have been removed for the next witness who will begin evidence at 12 noon
11:13@skynewsgathererHelen Yelland from GCHQ now giving evidence. She was approached by Gareth's line manager at GCHQ on 20/08/10
WITNESS: Helen Yelland
11:18@skynewsgatherer'There was some confusion as to who was taking what checks,' says HR witness, when asked about when Gareth went missing
11:25@skynewsgathererMs Yelland says she had no info about Gareth's state of mind - police were told he had been "pulled off job and could have taken it badly"
11:28@skynewsgathererMs Yelland spoke to Gareth's sister at 1645 on 23rd to tell her she had reported Gareth missing
11:30@skynewsgathererChecks should have been made to find Gareth very shortly after he was expected at work, says GCHQ HR worker
11:49@skynewsgathererMet Police lawyer now questioning Ms Yelland
11:50@skynewsgathererAsking about call made by Ms Yelland to the police. Police summarise info in what's called a CAD report
11:52@skynewsgathererReport says that Gareth was last spoken to on 13th Aug and that his sister was due to stay with him
11:54@skynewsgathererCAD report says "He was recently pulled off a job and informant is concerned he has taken this badly"
11:55@skynewsgatherer"Who told you he had been pulled off job and had taken it badly?" asks lawyer
11:56@skynewsgathererMs Yelland replies that she could have interpreted Gareth's request to return to GCHQ as being taken off job. Though admits odd language
12:01@skynewsgathererInquest into death of Gareth Williams has been adjourned for lunch. Back at 2pm
END OF SESSION 7. Thursday Morning, April 26, 2012

Link to source of April 26 coverage

Session 6. Wednesday Afternoon, April 25, 2012

SESSION 6. Wednesday Afternoon, April 25, 2012
12:37@skynewsgathererInquest into death of Gareth Williams delayed until 2.15pm
13:16@skynewsgathererFurther delays - Inquest into death of Gareth Williams is now being held in private
13:33@skynewsgathererHave been allowed back into the media annexe. Large blue scenes across the whole of the court
13:36@skynewsgathererScreens protecting the identity of the first witness from MI6. S/he has been referred to only as 'K'
WITNESS: Witness K
13:39@skynewsgathererCoroner apologies for delays and says 'a lot of work has been done'
13:40@skynewsgathererWitness K worked with Gareth Williams in Cheltenham. He last saw him on a work trip to a conference in Las Vegas
13:41@skynewsgathererThey would spend the days at the conference, and on a couple of evenings when they went out
13:41@skynewsgathererWitness K said he didn't know Gareth Williams very well and only knew him in a work capacity
13:42@skynewsgathererMost of the workmates would go out every night. Gareth only went out twice
13:44@skynewsgathererGareth told 'K' he was going to stay on in the USA to do some hiking and climbing. K didn't notice anything unusual about behaviour
13:48@skynewsgathererK was due to have a work meeting with Gareth on August 20 2010. It was confirmed in last email exchange on Aug 13
13:49@skynewsgathererK waited a while but then another colleague suggested they should try ring the numbers they had for Gareth
13:51@skynewsgathererThe meeting was 3 days before police were alerted by his family that Gareth was missing
13:53@skynewsgathererK wasn't aware that Gareth had not been in work all week
13:55@skynewsgathererK made two statements to the police but was never asked to check and sign the copies they drafted
13:56@skynewsgathererK says that whilst seconded to MI6 Gareth would have been on a higher pay scale
13:58@skynewsgathererK waited around 2 hours for Gareth, and left it with his colleague that Gareth had not turned up for the meeting
13:59@skynewsgathererInquest hears that Gareth was a member of a four man team. K got no explanation as to where Gareth was
14:02@stone_skynewsThe Gareth Williams inquest is now hearing from Witness K - a work colleague of his from GCHQ in Cheltenham. He had been due to meet him
14:02@stone_skynewsWitness K says that he came to London for meeting with Gareth Williams on 20/8/10 @ MI6 HQ. Gareth didn't turn up. Was found dead on 23/8/10
14:03@skynewsgathererK says it was unexpected that Gareth had not turned but - but that sometimes 'people don't turn up for meetings'
14:04@skynewsgathererWhen K returned to Cheltenham he let his line manager know that Gareth had failed to turn up
14:10@skynewsgathererWitness F now called. He worked at GCHQ and had been given Gareth's number about a flat
WITNESS: Witness F
14:12@skynewsgathererF called Gareth on Aug 12 on the internal work phone system and arranged to meet him on Aug 16th at 7pm
14:15@skynewsgathererF arrived late to view Gareth's flat after getting the address wrong. He pressed the buzzer but no response
14:16@skynewsgathererCommunal door was on the latch so F pushed it open and went to Gareth's front door. There was no response
14:18@skynewsgathererF assumed he had arrived too late and wrote Gareth a note on a flyer. He tried to contact Gareth the next day
14:20@skynewsgathererF made further attempts to contact Gareth and called his supervisor - thought to be witness G
14:24@skynewsgathererFamily barrister now questioning witness. Confirms again that statements in 2010 were not written and signed
14:28@skynewsgathererSo MI6 aware that Gareth had missed 2 meetings (16&20Aug) with GCHQ staff - his body not found til family reported him missing
14:36@skynewsgathererWitness G now giving evidence. He had been Gareth's manager at SIS since August 2009
WITNESS: Witness G
14:39@skynewsgathererG managed Gareth's day to day tasks at SIS but Gareth still had a boss at GCHQ
14:40@skynewsgathererG explaining that he worked with Gareth and 2 others as a team. They all worked in a small office
14:42@skynewsgathererThe team worked in a flexible way with each member looking after their own tasks. Work described as being 'irregular'
14:44@skynewsgathererG says that Gareth was able to work 'operationally' and had performed some operational duties including one trip abroad - to USA
14:46@skynewsgathererTrip to US described as a wind down from SIS work and more in preparation for return to GCHQ in Cheltenham
14:49@skynewsgathererGareth's boss describes him as a quiet intellectual, a very private person. The team used to go out but Gareth rarely did
14:50@skynewsgathererG knew little about Gareth outside work apart from their shared interest in running and cycling
14:53@skynewsgathererG said there were no indication that Gareth was not happy at work apart from that he had failed a test, which he later passed
14:54@skynewsgathererG says Gareth was frustrated with the amount of 'risk mitigation' and paperwork associated with operational duties
14:55@skynewsgathererG says Gareth was good at the technical side of the job and wanted to get back to it
14:58@skynewsgathererG says that he could have been in the office on August 13 with Gareth but doesn't remember seeing him
15:01@skynewsgathererQ: 'Did Gareth ever not turn up for work when he was expected to do so?' A: No
15:02@skynewsgathererG not concerned when Gareth didn't show by 10am - but thought he had had trouble with the trains
15:03@skynewsgathererGareth had never failed to show up before - even when he had been late
15:04@skynewsgathererOn 3pm Aug 16 Gareth had a meeting with another colleague, inquest hears (That's now 3 missed meetings)
15:06@skynewsgathererCoroner: 'If I didn't turn up for my job people would have wondered where I was'
15:07@skynewsgathererG said he took no action. In hindsight he said he should have taken more action and 'escalated it.'
15:09@skynewsgathererQ: What action did you take? A: I made some calls to his landline
15:09@skynewsgathererWhen G didn't get answer he thought that Gareth must have been packing. He didn't check with GCHQ. Says in hindsight he should have done
15:12@skynewsgathererAppears that even though Gareth had failed to turn up at work his boss at MI6 did not try to contact his family or friends
15:13@skynewsgathererG checked if Gareth was logged on to the work system to see if he was logged in on Aug 17
15:14@skynewsgathererQ: Did that raise or lower your concern? A: It didn't change my concern
15:15@skynewsgathererG says his thoughts were that Gareth had forgotten to tell him he would be out the officer - or that he had told him and he had forgotten
15:16@skynewsgathererG then went on operations and was out of the office. He didn't pass details of Gareth's absence on to anyone
15:17@skynewsgathererG back at work on 23rd and Gareth was still not in the office. He tried phone but no response. So he visited his flat
15:20@skynewsgathererG visited Gareth's flat on his why out. He only pressed flat 4 buzzer and didnt try the neighbours
15:21@skynewsgathererQ: Did you seek any advice on what you should do? A: Yes, I got a list of suggested actions
15:22@skynewsgathererThese actions including leaving a note, ringing the phone and contacting local hospitals. G did not contact the hospitals
15:23@skynewsgathererG did not try to contact Gareth over the weekend. (apologises flat visit was 20th not 23rd)
15:24@skynewsgathererG expected Gareth to just turn up at work on Monday morning. He admits it was just a gut feeling and he had no evidence
15:25@skynewsgathererIt was only when Gareth didn't show up on Monday that G became worried. He went round to his flat at 10.30 but didn't get in
15:26@skynewsgathererG then reported Gareth missing to his line manager and GCHQ. He also looked for a spare set of keys for Gareth's flat
15:27@skynewsgathererAppears it took Gareth's boss at MI6 a WEEK to report him missing
15:28@skynewsgathererG then called Gareth's sister Ceri after first trying to contact his father. This was now the afternoon of 23rd
15:36@skynewsgathererThe risk to SIS staff working out of London was low, inquest told
15:37@skynewsgathererAgain witness G was not asked by police to witness and sign written statement taken at time when events were fresh in memory
15:41@skynewsgathererDuring questions from family lawyer G admits he had never had a day off sick and never missed a meeting
15:51@skynewsgathererWitness G says he can't remember, which or how many numbers, he tried for Gareth
15:57@skynewsgathererG says in hindsight he should have told someone about Gareth's absence before he had a day off
16:06@skynewsgatherer'You hadn't seen Gareth for a week. Had no communication... why didn't you just break in?' Asks family lawyer
16:08@skynewsgatherer'What concerns the family is that Gareth was in a profession in which there are risks,' says lawyer
16:08@skynewsgathererG: 'There is nothing to indicate that Gareth was at risk at that time.'
16:14@skynewsgathererG says he doesn't know if anyone from SIS/GCHQ entered flat between 16+23 aug?
16:15@skynewsgathererWhen asked if he had acted as a responsible manager G says that in hindsight he would have done things differently
16:16@skynewsgathererG says corporate procedure is in place and was in 2010 for someone going missing. He can't remember what it is
16:17@skynewsgathererFamily lawyer says that given the circumstances it should be tattooed on his heart
16:23@skynewsgathererEnd of fascinating 3rd day of evidence in inquest into death of Gareth Williams. More SIS staff tomorrow
END OF SESSION 6. Wednesday Afternoon, April 25, 2012

Link to source of April 25 coverage