Telegraph : MI6 spy's body padlocked into sports bag, inquest told

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

MI6 spy's body padlocked into sports bag, inquest told

The body of Gareth Williams, the British spy found murdered in London, had been padlocked into the sports bag in which it was hidden, a coroner has disclosed.

By John Bingham and Richard Edwards | September 1, 2010

A British spy who was found dead in the bath of a flat in London was stabbed several times before his body was stuffed into a sports bag where it lay decomposing for up to two weeks.

The 31-year-old MI6 codebreaker’s body was found in a bathtub at the flat where he had been living, close to the headquarters of the intelligence service. [Police waited almost two hours to get into the flat, which is thought to have been a security services safe house.]

Detectives are still unsure how the Cambridge educated mathematician died 10 days after the discovery last Monday.

They are now awaiting the results of a third post mortem examination and toxicology tests.

It also emerged that police waited almost two hours to get into the flat after being asked to check on Mr Williams who had not been seen for several days.

Opening of an inquest into the death Dr Paul Knapman, the Westminster Coroner disclosed that Mr Williams’s body was found in ensuite bathroom in the flat.

The body was already in “advanced state of decay”, and had to be formally identified with the help of a recent photograph supplied by Mr Williams’s family rather than in person, City of Westminster Coroner’s Court was told.

Mr Williams, whose secret work regularly took him to the US, is known to have been in London since August 11, but last seen alive four days later.

It would be another eight days before officers were sent to flat to check on him as officials made inquiries with his former landlady in Cheltenham, where he had previously worked for GCHQ, the Government’s “listening station”.

Police arrived at the flat in Pimlico at about 4.40pm last Monday but it was not until 6.30pm that they were able to get hold of a key to get inside, Scotland Yard said.

Dr Knapman told the court: “They found a large holdall in the bath in the ensuite bathroom of the main bedroom,” the corner told the court.

“The holdall was padlocked shut and inside was a lifeless body, and it appeared that the body was in an advanced state of decay.”

The death of Mr Williams, who was described only as “single man and civil servant”, is still being treated officially as “unexplained” rather than murder.

With the results of toxicology tests still awaited, the coroner indicated it could be several weeks before his body is finally released for burial.