MSNBC : Spy death inquiry looks at bondage link

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spy death inquiry looks at bondage link

British police want to question couple in death of intelligence analyst

December 22, 2010

LONDON — A British spy who was found dead in his London flat visited bondage websites and a drag club and had $23,000 worth of unworn designer womenswear in his wardrobe, detectives said Wednesday.

The Guardian newspaper reported that police believe the mystery surrounding Gareth Williams' death will be solved through insights into his private life.

Williams, a 30-year-old official at the code-breaking agency GCHQ, was found inside a red North Face sports bag at his central London apartment on Aug. 23. Williams was working on attachment to the MI6 spy agency, but security officials believe it is unlikely that his killing was connected with his work. Toxicology tests showed there were no traces of drugs or poisons that may have led to his death.

Offering new details, police said they hoped to determine conclusively whether Williams' death was linked to his personal life and to trace two people seen at the communal door of Williams' apartment block in June or July.

The man and woman, described as Mediterranean in appearance in their 20s and dressed casually, were buzzed through the communal entrance at the flats in Alderney Street by another resident in late June or July, The Guardian said. They said they had been given a key and were on their way to the apartment that Williams lived in.

"Gareth was a very private individual, and we know he would not have given his keys to anyone other than close family," said Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, head of the inquiry into his death.

Sebire said it was still unclear whether Williams died as a result of a sex game gone wrong, and called on any former partners to contact police.

"There is forensic evidence that indicates the presence of other people that we have not been able to eliminate yet," Sebire said.

Experts called in by police have assessed that Williams could not have locked himself inside the bag — which was fastened with a padlock — and could have survived for only 30 minutes inside before suffocation. The keys to the Yale padlock were found inside the bag, The Guardian said.

Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell said, head of Scotland Yard's homicide command, said police had been reluctant to make public details of Williams's private life, knowing it could prove distressing to his family.

Detectives said Williams used his iPhone to visit websites on bondage in the months before his death, The Guardian reported. Four days before he died, he went to a drag club called Bistrotheque in Bethnal Green, east London, to see an act called Jimmy Woo, and had tickets for two similar performances at a pub in Vauxhall, close to MI6 headquarters.

"We feel there is some small subgroup of the community, or individuals, who may know something about this matter and the nature of Gareth's death," Campbell said.

An inquest will be held at Westminster coroner's court on Feb. 15.

This article includes reporting staff and The Associated Press.