Gareth Williams Death: Bernard Hogan-Howe Warns MI6 Officers 'They Are Not Above The Law'

PA/The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 08/05/2012 13:52 Updated: 08/05/2012 15:27

Bernard Hoganhowe
Bernard Hogan-Howe said that communication level between MI6 and the original Met investigation was "unacceptable"

Britain's top police officer has warned MI6 they are not above the law as he revealed proposals for mass DNA screenings in the long-running Gareth Williams investigation.

An independent forensics review will form a central part of fresh efforts to solve the 21-month investigation into how the codebreaker's body ended up in a holdall, Scotland Yard's Commissioner said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe has also told detectives to deal directly with the intelligence agency in a break with tradition at the Metropolitan Police.

Homicide detectives were previously forced to involve counter-terror colleagues in a bid to obtain statements and evidence from MI6.

But Mr Hogan-Howe was angered by the "unacceptable" breakdown in communication which saw evidence fail to come to the senior investigating officer until last week at an inquest.

When asked what powers he had to ensure MI6 co-operated, he told reporters: "It's the law."

He said mass screening in the case would be carried out on a "voluntary" basis.

Mr Hogan-Howe said: "Of course it may well be that Gareth Williams' death has nothing to do with employment. All we need to do is to make sure that that are of his life was fully explored."

Mr Hogan-Howe said forensics firm LGC, which was responsible for a mix-up early in the investigation, would not be in charge of the review.

But he said: "This is not about criticising the forensic system."

Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who has led the investigation since the body was found in August 2010, is likely to pass on the case to a colleague as she is being promoted.

Members of the secret services have came under fresh scrutiny after the coroner leading the inquest, Dr Fiona Wilcox, said last week she was sure a third party locked Mr Williams inside the red holdall in which his naked body was found in his bathtub.

Giving her verdict in the inquest into the 31-year-old's death, Dr Wilcox said he was probably killed and it "remained a legitimate line of inquiry" that the secret services may have been involved in the death.

But inquiries have yet to yield a culprit, with forensic experts still hoping for a breakthrough from DNA tests on a green towel discovered in his kitchen.

Mr Williams, a fitness enthusiast originally from Anglesey, North Wales, was found in the bag in his flat in Pimlico, central London.

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  • Gareth Williams

    Williams was found dead in a Government flat in Pimlico in August 2010.

  • GCHQ

    After excelling at university at mathematics, Williams worked as a cipher and codes expert at the Government listening station, GCHQ.

  • SIS

    Williams was then seconded to work at the Secret Intelligence Service headquarters in Vauxhall, London.

  • Entering Holland Road Tube Station

    CCTV captures Williams entering Holland Road Tube Station on the 14th August 2010.

  • Holland Road Tube Station

    Caught on CCTV at Holland Road Tube Station the same day.

  • Hans Crescent

    Seen the next day on CCTV in Hans Crescent, London

  • Pimlico

    His body was found in a holdall in this Pimlico flat on the 24th of August 2010.

  • Holyhead, North Wales

    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

  • Ten police images of the interior of Alderney Street, SW1