Puzzle lacking vital piece: who would kill Mr Williams and why?

Coroner scotches transvestite theory and rules out link to MI6

The coroner's conclusion that Mr Williams was probably a victim of unlawful killing is marked by a crucial absent factor – a motive.

In reaching her decision Dr Wilcox ruled out that the death had any connection with either Mr Williams's professional or personal life. She accepted evidence, she said, that his job as a computer expert with MI6 was "low risk" and would not have made him a target.

The inquest had heard that Mr Williams had visited bondage websites and had once been found by his landlady in Cheltenham tied to his bedpost wearing boxer shorts and nothing else. After his death more than £2,000 of female designer clothes and around 26 pairs of ladies' shoes were found in his flat.

Dr Wilcox pointed out that the MI6 officer had only visited bondage sites four times. There was no female underwear present, and no evidence he was a transvestite, she maintained. The female clothes were likely to have been part of a "fashion collection" as he was interested in fashion.

The coroner also accepted evidence that Mr Williams was ultra-cautious over his job and would not have let people he did not know into his flat. At the same time she acknowledged that there was no sign of a break-in or a robbery. So the obvious question remains – who killed Mr Williams and why?

The presence of a third party at Mr Williams's flat should have yielded forensic evidence. But only minute traces of DNA belonging to someone else were found. Yet Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, the officer in charge of the murder investigation, stated that there was no evidence of a clean-up.

The decomposition of the body was speeded up by the heating being turned on. Dr Wilcox acknowledged yesterday that August 2010, when Mr Williams died, was a "hot August, not a cold one". Yet there is no explanation as to why the heating was on.

The investigation into the death was undermined by a series of blunders, and also allegations of a cover-up. However, although MI6 acknowledges that the failure of Mr Williams's superior to raise the alarm over his absence from work was a mistake, the agency is adamant that subsequently all help asked for was given to the police. The agency was criticised in court for not turning over pieces of potentially important evidence to the murder squad. It later transpired that it was the police's SO15 department which had failed to pass on the material which had been delivered by the intelligence service. It has not been explained why this happened.

Last night an MI6 spokesman said: "We fully co-operated with the police and will continue to do so. We gave all the evidence to the police when they wanted it; at no time did we withhold evidence."

The inquest had heard that Mr Williams had agreed to forge an education certificate for a Kurdish acquaintance and some work for this was found on one of his computers. The inquest accepted evidence from a friend of Mr Williams, Elizabeth Guthrie, that this was a light-hearted idea which was never proceeded with. Yet the Kurdish man was not called to give evidence.

The inquest was also told that Mr Williams had carried out unauthorised trawling of the MI6 website. The details of this did not emerge, the coroner accepting witness testimony that "there was less to this than meets the eye" – yet another piece of the puzzle in the death of the MI6 officer.

Suggested Topics
Life & Style
life
Arts & Entertainment
tv
News
news
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvRicky Gervais on the return of 'Derek' – and why he still ignores his critics
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal