MI6 murder: Who planted the gay contacts stories?
Gareth Williams’s uncle points finger at the state - and there is a precedent
By Nigel Horne | August 30, 2010
The case of Gareth Williams, the murdered MI6 codebreaker, becomes curiouser and curiouser. The First Post was among the first to suggest that the 'evidence' pointing towards a homosexual and/or sadomasochistic murder might be a ruse, possibly planted by the killer to lead investigators astray.
Now it appears we were right to be suspicious - but that the misinformation might not be the work of the killer, as we suggested, but of the government, possibly MI6 itself.
Police who found Williams's body at his Pimlico flat have now made it clear that reports about the discovery of bondage gear, gay contact magazines and male escorts' phone numbers at the scene are quite wrong. No such things were found.
According to the Guardian, the officers described the killing as "a neat job", indicating a professional hit.
So who has been putting out the story that Williams might have been part of a London gay scene and was probably killed as a result?
Williams's uncle, William Hughes, says the dead man's family have been "furious" at the way the innuendo has been allowed to circulate. He believes that some agency of the government might be trying to discredit Williams by creating a smear campaign.
With that in mind, it is instructive to recall the case of another MI6 man, Jonathan Moyle, who died 20 years ago.
Moyle was the 28-year-old editor of the magazine Defence Helicopter World. He was found dead in a bedroom at the Carrera Hotel in Santiago in 1990. It later transpired that he had been employed by MI6 and was visiting the Chilean capital to investigate an arms dealer trying to sell helicopters to Saddam Hussein.
His body was found hanging inside his hotel room wardrobe with a padded noose around his neck. In other words, it looked like a sex game gone tragically wrong. Later, a Foreign Office official, believed to be an MI6 source, let it slip at a reception that Moyle had died accidentally while engaged in an auto-erotic act.
Just as Williams's parents don't believe a word of the stories circulating about their son, so Moyle's parents, Diana and Tony, were convinced their son's death scene was phony.
Diana Moyle, interviewed by the Mail on Sunday yesterday, says she spoke to her son on the phone 10 minutes before he is supposed to have died. "He was in good spirits even though he had just got back to discover his room had been ransacked and there were papers scattered everywhere".
Her husband Tony, a retired teacher who died three years ago, investigated his son's death and worked out that he had most likely been suffocated and injected with a lethal substance before being strung up in the wardrobe. According to the Mail on Sunday report, the same view was reached by a coroner who returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
Diana Moyle said yesterday: "My heart goes out to the family of Gareth Williams. Why should they have to hear such cruel untruths being spread about his death?
"Perhaps some would claim it was in the national interest. But we went through exactly the same thing when Jonathan was killed two decades ago. The pain which those lies caused me then and now is unbearable."
Mrs Moyle claims that the Foreign Office official who talked about her son's death at the reception had written to her and husband apologising for his claims which, he said, had been "overheard".
But, said Mrs Moyle, "I know that such things are not accidentally leaked. It is done deliberately."