The coroner overseeing the inquest into the death of MI6 spy Gareth Williams has said that it is "unlikely" that his mysterious death will ever be solved.
Giving her verdict at Westminster Coroner's Court today after the seven-day inquest, Dr Fiona Wilcox said that "most of the fundamental questions in relation to how Gareth died remain unanswered".
Mr Williams death was surrounded by "highly unusual circumstances" which immediately raised the possibility of foul play however, which in turn prompted "endless speculation", Dr Wilcox said.
In assessing the initial investigation into his death, Dr Wilcox discredited both the police and MI6 in how they handled the case.
MI6 had previously been accused of mishandling evidence and failing to hand over evidence to the inquiry, while police were accused of not properly investigating a bag of nine USB sticks handed over to them during the investigation.
Dr Wilcox said that Mr Williams' line manager, Witness G, "stretched the bounds of credibility" in their excuses as to why they did raise more concern when Mr Williams failed to turn up to work.
- Key Questions Surrounding the MI6 Agent's Death
- 'Unlikely' MI6 Spy's Death Will Ever Be Explained, Coroner Says
- Mystery Still Surround Enigmatic MI6 Spy's Death
- Inquest Gave A Rare Insight Into World Of MI6 Espionage
- MI6 Accused Of Failing To Disclose Evidence
- MI6 Spy Likely Poisoned Or Asphyxiated, Pathologists Believe
- 'No Reason To Suspect' Link Between MI6 Work And Spy's Death, Says Investigator
- MI6 Spy Tied Himself To Bed 'To See If He Could Get Free', Landlady Says
- Spy's Friend Reveals New Info On Personal Life
- Sister Tells How MI6 Spy Became Disillusioned In Secret Service
Dr Wilcox said "it would appear that many agencies fell short" in trying to solve Mr Williams' mysterious death.
Ruling out details of the spy's personal life, such as a passion for women's clothes and alleged cross-dressing, in having anything to do with his death, Dr Wilcox suggested that a third party leaked these details to distort the investigation.
She said: "I wonder if this was an attempt by some third party to manipulate the evidence."
Dr Wilcox concluded that she believed that while Mr Williams may well have found some way to lock himself in the North Face holdall he was found in, she found it immensely hard to believe that he did.
"I find on the balance of probabilities that, if he had got into the bag and locked himself in, he would have taken a knife in with him," she said. "He was a risk assessor."
"Gareth may have worked out a technique how to get into the bag and lock it from inside but I find it extremely unlikely that he did so."
Dr Wilcox said that while she believed that Mr Williams' death was unnatural, she could not reasonably conclude based on the evidence that it was a result of 'unlawful killing'.
Williams was found dead in a Government flat in Pimlico in August 2010.
After excelling at university at mathematics, Williams worked as a cipher and codes expert at the Government listening station, GCHQ.
Williams was then seconded to work at the Secret Intelligence Service headquarters in Vauxhall, London.
CCTV captures Williams entering Holland Road Tube Station on the 14th August 2010.
Caught on CCTV at Holland Road Tube Station the same day.
Seen the next day on CCTV in Hans Crescent, London
His body was found in a holdall in this Pimlico flat on the 24th of August 2010.
Williams' funeral was attended by Sir John Sawers, head of SIS.
Screengrab from a video reconstruction showing a yoga specialist trying to lock himself in a sports holdall unaided
Screengrab from a video reconstruction showing a person trying to close the zip and padlock themselves in a sports holdall unaided