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UK cops close to arrest over British spy found dead in a bag?

Andrew Winning / Reuters

Ian and Ellen Williams and Cerri Subbe, the mother, father and sister of British MI6 agent Gareth Williams, leave Westminster Coroner's Court, in central London April 23, 2012.

Criminal charges over the death of a British spy – whose body was found in a sports bag – are a “real possibility,” a lawyer for police reportedly told a coroner Monday.

Gareth Williams, 31, a math prodigy who graduated from university at the age of 17, was found dead in his immaculate apartment in Pimlico, London, in August 2010.

At the opening of a hearing into the cause of his death, Vincent Williams, a lawyer for London’s Metropolitan Police, said he sought to block the coroner from making video footage related to the case public, The Guardian newspaper reported.

The lawyer said a "careful line must be struck between open justice" at the hearing and the investigation by police, according to The Guardian.

Asked why information should not be made public, the lawyer told the coroner “because there is a live, complex, ongoing investigation taking place.”

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"It is because there may be criminal proceedings further down the line that the commissioner feels that the pattern of disclosure … has to be done with some care,” the lawyer added, saying charges were still a "real possibility."

Coroner Fiona Wilcox said there was a risk of harm to the U.K.’s national security and relations with other countries if some of those giving evidence at the hearing were named, The Guardian reported.

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Williams’ relatives have expressed fears that "some agency specializing in the dark arts" will prevent them from finding out the truth about his death, The Guardian said.

The dead man’s sister, Ceri Subbe, told the hearing she did not enjoy the culture of “flash car competitions,” “post-work drinking” and “rat race” at MI6, the U.K.’s secret intelligence service, The Telegraph newspaper reported.

Wilcox asked Subbe if she was surprised that more than £20,000 worth of female clothing was found in Williams’ apartment.

“I am not surprised, he was very generous with gifts,” Subbe said, adding that he may have collected the clothes because of his interest in fashion.

She said Williams was a cautious man and would not have let anyone inside his home if they had not been security vetted.

The hearing at Westminster Coroner’s Court in London is continuing.

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