Chapter 118: Toxicology: Negative

"The toxicology results are in," replied Holmes
"Gareth Williams is in the news again," said Sherlock Holmes, looking up from his newspaper. "This will be a good opportunity for Mycroft to familiarize himself with the investigation."

"What's the news?" I asked. It was the 28th of October, and Mycroft had been with us for ten days.

"The toxicology results are in," replied Holmes, "and they're all negative. According to the police, they found no trace of any drugs, alcohol, poisons or any other substances that would indicate cause of death."

"That's not much," I snorted. "Is there anything else?"

"They're not planning to do any more toxicology tests," replied my friend, "but say they're not finished looking into the circumstances. They're still trying to 'establish a formal cause of death,' as they say. In the meantime, they're calling the death 'suspicious and unexplained.'"

"I would say that's an understatement," I ventured.

"Don't expect any arguments from me," replied Holmes.

"But it still doesn't sound like very much news," I insisted. "What opportunity will it provide for Mycroft?"

"It will be interesting to see how this aspect of the story unfolds," replied Holmes. "I am curious as to how the reportage will develop. You and I have been studying such things for years, but this will be Mycroft's first glimpse of it."

"What are you expecting?" I asked.

"This announcement," said the detective, "shows Scotland Yard in a very weak position. Their tests haven't found anything substantial. They are still in the dark as to the cause of death. They are looking for a 'Mediterranean couple' who may or may not exist -- but who, if they do exist, may have been in the building a month or two before Gareth died. They are asking for hints from the public, through their incident room, or anonymously through Crimestoppers.'

"they cannot even identify the cause of death!"
"Crimestoppers, Watson! Anonymous tips! This is how the police are hoping to solve the murder of one of Her Majesty's most valuable assets, whose body was found two months ago and for whom they still cannot even identify the cause of death!

"Can they possibly leave the game in this condition? I would wager they can't. I expect anonymous leaks to the papers, or maybe some other high-spin event."

"What should I do, then?" I asked.

"Read everything you can get," replied Holmes. "Clip everything that seems relevant. When we have built a collection, we'll put the pieces in order." So that's what we did.

From the French news service, Agence France Presse, we found an article called "Spy's death still a mystery after tests draw blank, which summarized the no-news succinctly and quoted the police statement directly:
Tests on the body of a spy found dead in the bathtub of his London flat in August have discovered no evidence of any drugs, alcohol or poison that might have killed him, police said Thursday.

A "comprehensive" series of tests have failed to explain the death of Gareth Williams, 30, and it remains a mystery, police said in a statement -- although they insisted they were still treating his case as suspicious.

"The Metropolitan Police Service can confirm that results from comprehensive further toxicology tests carried out in relation to the death of Gareth Williams have come back negative, showing no trace of any drugs, alcohol, poisons or any other substances that would indicate cause of death," they said.

"There are no plans to carry out any further tests of this type, but enquiries continue to try and establish a formal cause of death.

"Mr Williams' death remains suspicious and unexplained and enquiries into the circumstances continue."
AFP also added a bit of background on the case:
Williams is thought to have been dead for two weeks when his naked, decomposing remains were found on August 23 at his home near the headquarters of secret intelligence service MI6, where he worked.

An inquest heard last month that he had been padlocked inside a bag but had not been stabbed and there were no obvious signs of strangulation.

He died just days before completing a one-year secondment to MI6 from GCHQ, the electronic "listening post" which monitors communications for intelligence purposes, located in Cheltenham.
The Guardian had a story headlined "MI6 spy Gareth Williams had no trace of drugs or poison in body," which added even more detail about Gareth's background:
Williams, a cycling fanatic and accomplished mathematician, was on secondment from GCHQ in Cheltenham to MI6 at their headquarters in Vauxhall, on the banks of the Thames.

His body was found in his temporary residence in Pimlico by uniformed officers. There was no sign of any forced entry to the property, and no signs of disturbance inside.

Williams, from Anglesey, North Wales, was last seen alive on 15 August, eight days before he was found dead. Police have released CCTV footage of him entering Holland Park tube station in west London at about 3pm the previous day.
The Guardian included a message from the bereaved family:
His family have dismissed suggestions that he had been involved in risky sexual practices as untrue and distressing.
Sky News, in "No Poison Or Drugs Found In MI6 Spy's Body," provided some background on the discovery of the body:
Mr Williams' body was discovered by officers who went to his flat after colleagues said he had not been seen for some time.

There was no sign of any forced entry to the property or a disturbance inside and nothing is believed to be missing.

He was found unclothed, in a zipped and padlocked red North Face holdall in an empty bath, in the ensuite bathroom.

Mr Williams, originally from Anglesey, North Wales, was last seen alive on August 15, eight days before he was found dead in the £400,000 property.
We found a report from BBC headlined "MI6 man Gareth Williams's cause of death still unknown," which said
Mr Williams graduated with a first class degree in maths from Bangor University at just 17.

In 2000, he took a postgraduate certificate in mathematics at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, before beginning work at GCHQ.

Officers who entered the flat where his body was found discovered a mobile phone and several mobile phone Sim cards laid out.

It is not known what work he was doing for MI6.
BBC also gave some insight into the case from Home Affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford, who said:
His cause of death remains a complete mystery.

In an investigation like this you never quite know what the police have got to go on they are not telling you about.

There are strong suggestions his laptop is missing so possibly it may link to his work.
From the Press Association via the Independent we found an article called "Tests on spy's body draw blank," which reported the toxicology results and added a few more details:
The 30-year-old GCHQ code-breaker's naked and decomposing body was found in a padlocked holdall in the bath of his Pimlico flat on August 23.

The mysterious circumstances of Mr Williams' death sparked an international frenzy of speculation earlier this year.

Coroner Dr Paul Knapman is due to review the case in private next Wednesday after opening an inquest on September 1.

A first post mortem examination could not identify a cause of death and police sent off numerous intimate samples for further tests.
The story even landed overseas. A short piece from the Associated Press ran in the New York Times under the heading "Tests Find No Drugs, Poison in Slain UK Spy's Body" and in the Canadian Press under the heading "No drugs, poison found in body of British spy mysteriously slain." It said simply:
Police investigating the unexplained slaying of a British intelligence official say tests on his body indicate no traces of drugs or poisons that may have led to his death.

Detectives are trying to establish how Gareth Williams, a 30-year-old official at Britain's eavesdropping and code-breaking agency GCHQ, died. Williams' naked and decomposing body was discovered inside a locked sports bag in his central London apartment on Aug. 23.

Police say Thursday toxicology tests show no evidence of any drugs, alcohol or poisons indicating the cause of death.

They have been hunting for a man and a woman seen calling at the communal door of Williams' apartment in June or July.

The death has sparked speculation and theories ranging from assassination to a sex game gone wrong.
And in New Zealand there was a report from Reuters titled "Spy's death still a mystery," which covered the police statement and added:
The mysterious nature of the death has led some to question whether he was targeted because of his work. However, the police inquiry is being carried out by its homicide unit, indicating they believe it is not related to terrorism or spy matters.

Williams was working for MI6, which deals with foreign espionage matters, on secondment from the Government Communications Headquarters, the government's eavesdropping service.

The Foreign Office has made no comment on the death, saying it did not make statements about anyone who might work for the intelligence agencies.