Sydney Morning Herald : Spy sex game may have caused death

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spy sex game may have caused death

September 13, 2010

A British spy may have locked himself inside a sports bag and suffocated during a sex game gone wrong, newspaper reports say.

A female police officer climbed into the large bag and locked herself in from the inside during a re-enactment of the events that are believed to have led to the MI6 intelligence officer's death, Britain's Mail on Sunday reported.

Gareth Williams, 31, was found naked inside the $250 North Face bag in the bath in his top-floor Pimlico apartment on August 24.

Police have worked for several weeks to determine the cause of death.

Initial toxicology tests showed no traces of alcohol or drugs in Mr Williams's system.

The results of further tests will not be known for at least a fortnight.

The latest theory is that the fitness fanatic managed to zip up the bag and padlock it from the inside for sexual kicks, the paper reported.

It is believed he might have panicked and suffocated after being unable to re-open the bag.

A key for the padlock was found next to his body, lending weight to speculation his death was an accident, the newspaper reported.

Erotic asphyxiation is defined as the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.

A police spokesperson told the Mail: "It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage of the investigation. We are keeping an open mind about the case."

Mr Williams's family has accused the government of orchestrating a "dirty tricks" campaign to discredit him after reports that he was gay and a cross-dresser.

Police have denied claims that gay magazines, bondage gear and the phone numbers of gay escort men were found in the apartment near his body.

Investigators have also dismissed allegations of financial irregularities and that a top-secret laptop computer had gone missing from his flat.

Crucially, there was no evidence of violence and no cuts or bruises on his body, nor any sign of a break-in at his flat.

Mr Williams had worked out of the Government Communications Headquarters at Cheltenham, known as Britain's biggest listening post, but was on year-long secondment to MI6.

The 5000-strong GCHQ eavesdrops on global communications and monitors terrorist threats.

Yet during the past year, Mr Williams had moved to London and it was colleagues at MI6, across the Thames from his elegant London flat, who reported him missing.

Nobody knows what he was working on but the city apartment has been described as a far cry from the granny flat he had lived in at Cheltenham and to which he was to return on September 3.

The Cheltenham flat was "floral carpets, silk flowers and potpourri", London's Independent reported.

Mr Williams was from Anglesey in North Wales. He lived on his own and did not have a partner.

He has been described as a child prodigy who had a degree in maths at 17 and went on to obtain a PhD.

He had the highest security clearance available to an intelligence officer and was part of a secretive cell that created devices that could steal data from mobiles and laptops.

Mr Williams returned from a "planned holiday" in the United States on August 11, less than two weeks before his body was found.

Investigators found he had made several shopping trips to London's West End and Knightsbridge on August 14 and 15, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Mr Williams stopped by department store Harrods, then walked towards a nearby Dolce & Gabbana store, although he did not go in.

It was the last time he was seen alive.