This Is London : New leads for police in hunt for mystery pair who visited spy

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New leads for police in hunt for mystery pair who visited spy

Justin Davenport, Crime Editor | January 4, 2011

Detectives investigating the bizarre death of spy Gareth Williams are following a number of new leads suggesting the identity of a couple who called at his flat before he died.

Police have been given several possible names for the man and a woman, who visited the MI6-owned flat in Alderney Street, Pimlico in late June or July last year.

The naked body of the 31-year-old codebreaker was found on 23 August padlocked inside a large North Face holdall. He is thought to have suffocated.

Murder squad detectives believe a second person padlocked the holdall but has failed to come forward.

They issued E-fit pictures of the man and woman, described as being in their twenties and of Mediterranean appearance, who were let in by a tenant on the ground floor of the building.

They told her they had keys to the flat where Mr Williams lived but said they were there to visit someone called Pier Paolo. They went upstairs to the top floor flat and did not re-appear.

One source close to the inquiry said: “There has been a good response to the appeal and a number of names [for the couple] are being explored.”

The inquiry is examining the possibility that Mr Williams, a GCHQ codebreaker who was on secondment to MI6 in Vauxhall, used an alias for possible secret liaisons.

One theory is that Mr Williams took the name Pier Paolo from the Italian poet and film director Pasolino, whose works include Salo, which was based on the novel 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade.

Pasolino was murdered in 1975, run down in his own car near Rome.

Detectives believe Mr Williams's death is linked to his private life but have not ruled out a link to his work. He is known to have visited several bondage websites.

Anyone with information should ring police on 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.