Murdered spy 'could have climbed into sports bag' before death
The spy whose naked body was found in a sports bag in an empty bath in Pimlico could have been alive when he was put into the bag, police believe.
By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | September 12, 2010
Detectives believe that someone else padlocked Gareth Williams into the red North Face holdall where his body was found on August 23.
They remain open to the possibility that Mr Williams climbed into the bag as part of a sex game and then suffocated. His body was found in the flat eight days after he was last seen alive.
Another option is that he was poisoned before his body was put into the bag. Tests have ruled out alcohol or recreational drugs.
Officers are waiting for further toxicology tests at the end of the week which may end the mystery of how Mr Williams died.
Mr Williams, 31, a keen cyclist and maths prodigy from Anglesey, North Wales, was found dead in the MI6 flat in central London where he lived while he was on secondment from GCHQ, working on interception techniques and code-breaking.
The death has puzzled Scotland Yard detectives and Home Office pathologists who have yet to come up with a definite cause of death.
The body was badly decomposed making it difficult to be certain whether there was a lack of oxygen to the brain or heart failure.
There are no marks on the body, making strangulation unlikely, but asphyxiation remains a possibility.
Strangulation has become increasingly common as a sex game, but officers say they have never come across a case like this linked to sex.
Mr Williams’s family have been upset at suggestions that he was gay and at erroneous reports that bondage equipment was found in the flat.
One source close to the inquiry told The Daily Telegraph: “If you are looking at how he died, asphyxiation could be one of the answers.
“We are looking at whether he could have been in the bag alive. The majority of people wouldn’t have thought that was likely but nothing is impossible.
“It is unlikely that his clothes were removed after he died so we have to assume that he was naked when he died.”
Officers believe that someone else was involved in the death – even if it does not amount to murder – although there was no sign of forced entry at the flat.
“You would never say that he did this to himself. How would you do it?” the source said. “We have looked at whether it is possible to lock the bag from the inside and it just does not seem possible. “
Detectives are keen to talk to a Mediterranean couple aged between 20 and 30, seen at the spy’s flat in Alderney Street, Pimlico, central London, late one evening in June or July.
“They haven’t come forward and we have to ask ourselves why that would be,” the source said.
There were reports yesterday that Mr Williams had met a similar couple at the Patisserie Valerie in Holland Park, west London on a number of occasions.
Officers are still looking at fast-acting poisons such as strychnine and arsenic but have ruled out slower acting substances such as thallium or the radioactive Polonium 210 that killed the former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko, because CCTV images a few days before Mr Williams died showed he was in good health.
The state of decomposition of the body suggests that Mr Williams died shortly after he was last seen in Holland Park on August 14 and shopping in Harrods in Knightsbridge on August 15.