AFP : Dead spy was in training for new identity: report

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dead spy was in training for new identity: report

AFP | December 26, 2010

LONDON — A British spy whose body was found padlocked inside a bag at his London flat in August had been training to take on a new identity in the months leading up to his death, a newspaper reported Sunday.

A close friend of Gareth Williams, 31, a codebreaker for Britain's foreign intelligence service MI6, also told the Mail on Sunday paper he was not homosexual and wanted a girlfriend.

Police have suggested his death was linked to London's gay or bondage scene and thousands of pounds worth of women's clothing was found in his flat following his death.

"He said he was learning his new identity," said Sian Lloyd-Jones, 33, a close childhood friend from Wales, referring to an evening earlier this year when Williams paid her a visit.

"He often came round with his work. That night he came over with his box file and started going through it. He had two passports."

Speculation over how the intelligence agent met his mysterious death had been shifting away from his work and towards the idea it was linked to his private life.

Earlier this week, police said investigators believed someone involved in the bondage or gay scene had "linked in" with Williams.

London's Metropolitan Police revealed Williams had been logging onto bondage websites and had visited a drag cabaret in the British capital four days before his death.

But fashion stylist Lloyd-Jones, dismissed suggestions he was homosexual and said the 15,000 pounds worth of unworn designer clothes were likely a gift for her and the spy's sister, Ceri.

"I truly believe if he had any interest in homosexuality, he would have spoken to his sister and to me as well," she said.

"It would have been fine if he was but he had too much interest in women. He wanted a girlfriend and he wanted a wife and family."

On the stash of clothes, she said: "I truly believe that Ceri and I were going to receive the clothing. He was so generous you wouldn't believe."

Police have said that an expert who examined the red North Face bag in which Williams's naked body was found on August 23 had concluded that he could not have locked it himself. The keys were found inside the bag.

Police said on Wednesday they were trying to trace a couple of Mediterranean appearance known to have visited his flat in late June or July.

Williams was last seen alive around a week before his body was discovered.

He died just days before completing a one-year secondment to MI6 from GCHQ, Britain's electronic "listening post" which monitors communications for intelligence purposes, located in Cheltenham.

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