MI6 worker 'locked himself in sports bag'

British codebreaker Gareth Williams

MI6 CODEBREAKER Gareth Williams probably locked himself into the sports bag where his naked, dead body was discovered in 2010, Scotland Yard has found.

After conducting a review of the case, Scotland Yard has found Williams probably locked himself into the sports bag and was not the victim of a hit by the security services, Britain's Daily Telegraph reports.

Westminster Coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox, said earlier this year she could not rule out the involvement of the security services in the death. That ruling sparked a review of the case by Scotland Yard’s murder squad which involved re-interviewing Williams' colleagues from MI6 and taken DNA samples.

Williams’s naked body was found in a red North Face gym bag in an empty bath in his apartment in Pimlico, central London in August 2010. The keys to the red bag were found in the bottom of the bag.

Detectives had believed that someone else must have locked the codebreaker in the bag and launched a search for a mysterious Mediterranean couple, who were later ruled out of inquiries.

Williams’s colleagues at MI6 had failed to report him missing for a week and failed to turn over nine memory sticks and a black bag under his desk at their Vauxhall Cross headquarters, sparking rumours of a cover-up.

Detectives now believe he probably died alone, The Telegraph reports.

A source close to the inquiry told the newspaper: "They have been unable to find any trace of anyone who should not have been in the flat and have every reason to believe that Gareth may have climbed into the bag himself and been unable to get out."

Two experts tried a total of 400 times to lock themselves into the bag and one claimed that even world-famous escapologist Harry Houdini "would have struggled" to squeeze himself inside.

But days after the inquest verdict a retired Army sergeant demonstrated that it was possible to climb into a similar North Face bag and lock it from the inside.

Scotland Yard detectives have now been able to repeat the experiment with some slight differences to the way the bag was locked, but which fits with how Gareth Williams was found in August 2010.

Dr Wilcox, a former negligence barrister, had ruled that the lack of hand and footprints in the bathroom was "significant". The Telegraph understands police were able to identify around 300 fingerprints in the flat.

The coroner also dismissed speculation that Williams died as a result of some sort of "auto-erotic activity". But detectives now believe that is probably a likely option, the newspaper reports.

The inquest had heard that Williams, a codebreaker for GCHQ who was on secondment to MI6, had been found in his boxer shorts and tied to his bed by his landlord and landlady in Cheltenham a few years earlier.

Video footage found on a mobile phone in the deceased's flat showed Williams dressed in nothing but black leather boots as he "wiggled and gyrated" for the camera.

He browsed self-bondage websites and sites about claustrophilia - the love of enclosure - on his computers and phone and was looking at fetish websites days before his death.

He also kept pictures of drag queens on his computer and had 20,000 pounds ($31,000) worth of designer women's clothing in his apartment as well as women’s shoes and wigs.

Friends and family were upset at speculation Williams may have been gay and believed "some agency specialising in the dark arts" was behind his killing.

In her ruling, Dr Wilcox said there was no evidence to suggest the spy was a transvestite "or interested in any such thing". The make-up found in his apartment was more likely to reflect his interest in fashion and the wigs were "far more consistent with dress-up such as attendance at a manga conference", she said.

The suggestion that his interest in female footwear could have been of a sexual nature, was not unusual, Dr Wilcox observed.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said the investigation remained "active" and that officers were still exploring "a number of lines of enquiry."

The coroner said it remained a "legitimate line of inquiry" that the secret services were involved in Williams's death although there was no firm evidence.


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