Daily Mail : MI6 spook did NOT die alone: Police certain he was padlocked in bag by someone else

Friday, September 24, 2010

MI6 spook did NOT die alone: Police certain he was padlocked in bag by someone else

By Stephen Wright | September 24, 2010

The MI6 spy whose naked body was found in a sports bag in his bath could not have died alone, police believe.

They are now certain he was padlocked into the large holdall by someone else.

Gareth Williams, 31, who was working on secondment for MI6, was alive when he got into - or was forced into – the bag and died from suffocation.

There were no injuries on his body to suggest a struggle and police have still not ruled out the possibility that his death was the culmination of a bizarre sex game that went wrong.

But in another mysterious twist, the Mail can reveal that the outer door to Mr Williams’s flat in Pimlico, Central London, had apparently been locked from the outside when police arrived on the scene.

Detectives have now intensified their search for a Mediterranean couple known to have been with Mr Williams in the weeks before his death. They are understood to have had a set of keys to the flat.

The disclosures come after a month of frenzied speculation about what happened in the flat last month, including theories that Mr Williams committed suicide alone.

But as the head of MI6 attended Mr Williams’s funeral near his family home in North Wales yesterday, the Daily Mail can reveal that this line of inquiry has been discounted.

We can also reveal that there is no evidence to support claims that Mr Williams was a cross-dresser, that bondage equipment was found at his home, that a laptop was missing from the flat, or that he had reported to spy bosses that he was being followed.

Nor, as was claimed in one report, was any suspicious liquid found next to his body in the sports bag.

Police have also dismissed allegations of irregularities in his finances and there is no evidence that Mr Williams had committed any criminal acts.

Inquiries continue into his private life, which officers remain convinced will be the key to solving the case.

Mr Williams’s decomposing body was found inside a zipped and padlocked North Face bag in his flat on August 23.

Initially it was thought the cycling enthusiast had been murdered, but the case remains officially classified as ‘suspicious and unexplained’.

Detectives believe that whoever was present around the time of his death might have been too scared to come forward to explain what happened.

The revelation that the Mediterranean couple had their own keys emerged after the Daily Mail returned to the scene of Mr Williams’s death earlier this week and spoke to neighbours.

Detectives believe the man and woman, in their thirties, were known to Mr Williams because neighbours do not recall their being ‘buzzed’ into the address.

Despite repeated appeals, the couple – who visited the flat owned by the intelligence services in late June or early July – have not come forward.

Their reluctance to identify themselves has hampered ‘Operation Finlayson’, the code name given to the Metropolitan Police investigation into Mr Williams’s death.

The Mail can reveal that the results of two post-mortem examinations, carried out by respected pathologists Ben Swift and Dick Shepherd, are expected to be made public in the next fortnight.

Initial tests are understood to suggest that Mr Williams died of suffocation while in the bag. Toxicology tests showed no traces of alcohol or rec­reational drugs in his system.

Mr Williams’s body was found in an extra-large North Face bag, which features 140 litres of storage capacity, durable material, double stitching, twin haul handles and locking zips.

Claims that a WPC or escapologist of similar height and build to Mr Williams had locked the padlock while inside the same type of bag, during a ‘re-enactment’ of the possible events leading to his death, have been dismissed.

A former senior Met detective said: ‘Cases like this are not like an episode of CSI. They are not solved neatly in 45 minutes.’

The head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, made the journey from London to the small Bethel Methodist Chapel in Anglesey for yesterday’s funeral to support Mr Williams’s family and represent colleagues who could not attend.

Mr Williams was on secondment at the Secret Intelligence Service from GCHQ in Cheltenham.

The mourners were led by his parents Ian and Ellen, his sister Ceri and her husband Chris Subbe.

A tribute was paid by Islwyn Williams, headteacher of Ysgol Morswyn, the primary school attended by the code-breaker and cipher specialist.

He said: ‘He accomplished more in three short decades than the rest of us do in a lifetime.’

Outside church, when asked if the investigation would ever get to the bottom of what happened to Mr Williams, Sir John insisted it was a police matter.

He said: ‘It has been a desperately sad period for the family since Gareth died.

‘Gareth was a hugely talented person and he was very modest and generous as well. He did really valuable work with us in the cause of national security.’

Mr Williams was last seen alive eight days before his body was found. CCTV showed him shopping at Harrods and at Holland Park Tube station.