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DNA mix-up over MI6 spy's death
Scotland Yard has revealed that a key line of inquiry into the death of an MI6 spy found in a holdall had been an 18-month DNA mix-up.
Two areas of investigation have proved red herrings, a pre-inquest review into the death of Gareth Williams heard.
Forensic teams mistakenly flagged up a spot of DNA on his hand in 2010 - before realising just two weeks ago that it matched a scientist on the crime scene, the force told a coroner.
It also emerged that a Mediterranean couple police wanted to speak to were irrelevant to Mr Williams's death.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox expressed frustration over delays as "an ongoing problem" as she called for inquiries into the DNA "error".
The naked and decomposing body of Mr Williams, 31, was found in the bath of his home in Pimlico, central London.
Dr Wilcox also told the hearing at Westminster Coroner's Court that whether Mr Williams, originally from Holyhead in Anglesey, was alive inside the bag and locked it himself "was at the very heart of this inquiry".
The coroner also said she was keen to see a practical demonstration of how Mr Williams might have got into the bag and locked it himself.
Regarding the error by forensic teams, Ms Wilcox said: "It's been an ongoing problem for me, the late provision of evidence."
Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire told the court the DNA evidence had previously been regarded as a "key line of inquiry". She added: "It came to our attention that there had been a very significant DNA finding of Gareth's hand", but it emerged just weeks before the hearing "that actually the DNA evidence was contamination by a scientist at the scene", the officer said.