Telegraph : MI6 spy found dead in bag: Gareth Williams visited bondage websites, drag cabaret and gay bars

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MI6 spy found dead in bag: Gareth Williams visited bondage websites, drag cabaret and gay bars

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | December 22, 2010

A British spy whose naked body was found padlocked into a sports bag in the bath of his flat in central London had been visiting bondage websites and drag clubs and had a £15,000 collection of women’s designer clothing, police have disclosed.

Officers investigating the death of Gareth Williams, a GCHQ code breaker who was on secondment to MI6, have released details of his unusual private life and explained the extraordinary riddle that surrounds his death.

While the death is officially described as “suspicious” rather than murder, officers also released e-fits of a Mediterranean couple that visited the flat a few weeks later and let themselves in with a key.

Det Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, the head of Scotland Yard’s murder squad, said he was aware that the details would be “embarrassing, hurtful and distressing” for Mr Williams’s family but said they supported the appeal for anyone that had encountered him in the nightclubs, online or at women’s clothing shops to come forward.

“We are very sure that someone else was in that flat. We want to know the circumstances when you would leave somebody in that position, by accident or design,” he added.

Det Chief Insp Jacqueline Sebire, who is leading the inquiry, described Mr Williams, 31, from Anglesey in North Wales, as an “intensely private person” who had kept his lifestyle hidden from friends and family.

His body was found in a red North Face holdall on August 23 after he failed to turn up to work at MI6’s headquarters at Vauxhall Cross in London.

Inside the flat, police found half a dozen boxes with neatly folded, apparently unused women’s designer clothing and shoes, along with a number of wigs.

The clothing had been bought online and in smart shops in London’s West End, starting in 2008 and going up until a few weeks before Mr Williams died.

They were all in small sizes that would have fitted Mr Williams, who was 5ft 8ins tall and weighed around 9st.

The labels included Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Christian Louboutin shoes, and the collection came to around £15,000.

Mr Williams was not in debt, police said, and there were no signs that unaccounted sums of money had been paid in or left his bank account.

Unknown to his family and colleagues, Mr Williams had also attended two, six to eight week courses in fashion design for beginners at the prestigious Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in London during evenings and weekends, one in 2010 and one in 2009, passing both courses.

Mr Williams had recently visited the West Coast of the US for his work which involved working on computers and intercept techniques, and had combined the trip with a fly-drive holiday.

He arrived back in Britain on Wednesday August 11 and two days later he went to the Bistrotheque restaurant and bar in Bethnal Green, East London to watch Jimmy Woo, a drag artist.

CCTV recovered later showed him wearing cream trousers and a blue t-shirt.

“He went alone and left alone,” DCI Sebire said. “He chatted to people at the event but it was nothing other than small talk.”

The spy also had two single tickets for two other drag acts at the Vauxhall Tavern in South London, not far from MI6 headquarters, for each of the following weekends.

A single witness has also said they chatted to him at a gay bar called Barcode in Vauxhall in May, although police have been unable to trace any sexual partners, either heterosexual or homosexual.

However examination of his personal laptop and personal mobile phone showed that he had visited five separate bondage websites, beginning with a search on the encyclopedia site Wikipedia and followed up with the sites,, and

The evidence recovered from the computer and phone does not show whether he chatted to anyone online, but some of the sites had chat forums, police said.

The sites were said to be primarily pictures of women and “how to guides” and Mr Williams visited them on only four occasions between the end of 2009 and a few weeks before he died. There was no sign that he had visited any pornographic websites.