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