Police accused of not handing over vital evidence


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The Independent Online

MI6 and Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command were accused yesterday of failing to disclose vital evidence into the death of intelligence officer Gareth Williams.

Recriminations and claims of a cover-up continued on the penultimate day of the inquest, with both the coroner and counsel for the bereaved family criticising the way the investigation appears to have been hampered.

Nine computer memory sticks belonging to Mr Williams and a black bag found at his office had been overlooked for more than 21 months and the officer in charge of the murder inquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, was only told of their existence this week.

The coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, accused Detective Superintendent Michael Broster, pictured, of SO15 (Counter Terrorism Command) who had obtained evidence from MI6 regarding the death, of colluding with the intelligence agency.

She claimed he was offering "non-sequitur" reasons for failing to pass on the items, before continuing: "I suggest you have not been completely impartial in this case." Det Supt Broster said he was "completely impartial" and that MI6 and GCHQ had been helpful.

As Dr Wilcox ordered police to bring the missed evidence to Westminster Coroner's Court, Anthony O'Toole QC, appearing for Mr Williams's family, said the police had not taken the death of the computer expert seriously enough. Cross-examining Detective Constable Colin Hall, also from SO15, Mr O'Toole said: "If this had not involved SIS and it was the Krays you were investigating, you would have gone into this in more detail."

DC Hall was asked why he had not taken away a black bag found at Mr Williams's office at MI6 headquarters in south London, for forensic examination. DC Hall replied: "I was told there was nothing there about Gareth's death." He stressed he was following instructions from superior officers. The inquest continues.

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