MSN [UK] : Did spy Gareth Williams die in bizarre art accident?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Did spy Gareth Williams die in bizarre art accident?

Eliot Sefton, thefirstpost.co.uk, January 16, 2011

In a theory which seems so totally bizarre it might just be true, police now believe MI6 officer Gareth Williams zipped himself into a holdall in the bath in his flat as research for an art project - but suffocated before he could get out again.

A GCHQ codebreaker on secondment to MI6, where his work made him privy to highly classified anti-terrorism material, Williams was found dead on August 23 last year in a government safe house where he had been living.

At least a week after he had last been seen alive, his body was discovered in a North Face holdall in the bath at his top-floor apartment in Pimlico, a short walk from MI6 headquarters.

Problematically for investigators, no cause of death could be determined. Theories about Williams's death have since ranged from polonium poisoning by foreign agents to bizarre sex games gone wrong.

Now, the Sunday Mirror says, police have come up with the strangest theory yet.

Investigation of Williams's laptop revealed he had paid £695 to join a 10-week part-time course at Central St Martin's College in London titled Fashion Design for Beginners.

St Martin's is an illustrious place to study fashion, with alumi among the world's top designers, including Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Stella McCartney - so it is evident that the thorough codebreaker had done his research and was serious about the course.

The fashion course also explains the presence of £15,000-worth of designer dresses, including some by Stella McCartney, and pairs of shoes in Williams's flat. It had earlier been claimed he was a cross-dresser - though the clothes were still wrapped.

Police also discovered Williams had visited bondage websites on his laptop. The new theory suggests there may have been no sexual motive for this.

A police source told the newspaper: "He had also visited websites linked to bondage although he may have simply been looking up ways to lock himself up and then unlock himself."

Why? Because, police believe, he had been given a project by his St Martin's tutor titled 'Living Spaces'.

They now think the holdall may have been an attempt by Williams to research a project on exactly how little living space it is possible to exist in - research that went horribly wrong when the fit 31-year-old found himself trapped and suffocated in the August heat.

The theory is so bizarre it's tempting to believe it: and it certainly should provide comfort for Williams's family, who have made public their dismay at the suggestion he was leading secret double life as a cross-dressing, gay, bondage enthusiast.

Williams's close friend Sian Lloyd-Jones said last month: "It would have been fine [by us] if he was [gay] but he had too much ­interest in women.

"He was really open with his friends and family about his ­personal life and I truly believe if he had any interest in homosexuality he would have spoken to his sister and to me as well."

But at least one person close to story seems to find the new theory less than convincing: Williams's fashion tutor, Cheryl Eastap. She told the newspaper: "The police did come to see me.

"The idea that his death and his work on the course was linked is a crazy idea that the police dreamed up. They said it might relate to it but I can’t see how it relates at all."

And security analysts reacted with extreme scepticism to the suggestion that Williams could have zipped himself into the holdall when it was first mooted in September. At the time it was thought he had zipped himself in for sexual reasons.

But if the theory is bunk, where did it come from? Could it be a clumsy attempt to atone to Williams's family and friends for the earlier slurs - while the truth of his death remains an espionage-shrouded mystery?

Mirror : MI6 spy death could be bizarre art course accident

Sunday, January 16, 2011

MI6 spy death could be bizarre art course accident

By Susie Boniface, Sunday Mirror | January 16, 2011

MI6 spy Gareth Williams – whose body was found naked in a padlocked bag – may have died while taking part in a bizarre experiment for an art project.

Police now believe the codebreaker could have accidentally killed himself while doing research for a part-time art and fashion course after being set an assignment entitled Living Spaces.

In the weeks before his death it is feared he was trying to push the ­boundaries by existing in a confined space.

The development would come as a comfort to Gareth’s family, who have endured months of speculation that he was secretly gay, indulged in bizarre sex games and was a cross-dresser.

The superfit maths genius, 31, had joined a weekend class at prestigious Central St Martin’s College in London to learn about clothes design.

Gareth’s body lay undiscovered for more than a week in a padlocked North Face holdall in the bath of an MI6 safe house in Pimlico, central London, where he was living.

It has now emerged that, in marked contrast to his work in the staid world of the secret services, he paid £695 to enrol on a part-time course run by ­lecturer and designer Cheryl Eastap called Fashion Design for Beginners.

Every Saturday he cycled or took the Tube three stops to join 17 other students from 10am to 4pm on the intensive 10-week course.

The college’s list of illustrious ­graduates reads like a Who’s Who of British art and fashion including punk maverick Malcolm McLaren, designers ­Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Stella McCartney, whose clothes Gareth collected.

Gareth also enrolled on an arts evening class as part of a secret life away from ­being a spy.

The macabre discovery of his body prompted a massive police inquiry in which murder or ­manslaughter were two prominent theories.

But officers are now working on the basis that the death was a bizarre ­accident NOT related to a sex game – and was not foul play.

A source close to the investigation said: “Gareth was exceptionally ­talented at what he did and took it very ­seriously. Alongside cycling, fashion and art was a big obsession of his.

“It was typical of Gareth to throw everything he had into a project so certainly one avenue we are now ­looking at is whether he was experimenting with his art work. It would make a lot of sense.

“We’re still looking at whether anyone else was there at the time of his death and continue to appeal for more ­information, but it is looking more like a tragic, freak accident than a ­murder.”

The spy’s death posed awkward ­problems for police because his body had no sign of injury and post-mortems found no cause of death.

His blood was checked for poisons and he was even checked for exposure to radioactive elements such as ­Polonium-210, which was used to ­assassinate former Russian spy ­Alexander Litvinenko.

Gareth, from Holyhead, Anglesey, had been living at the £1million flat while on secondment to MI6.

He was working on encrypted ­computer systems used to analyse ­international intelligence on suspects ranging from al-Qaeda to cyber-terrorists attacking the banking system. As they investigated his death, ­detectives searched his belongings and found £15,000 of untouched women’s ­designer clothes and shoes, still in their wrapping, from high-end labels including Diane von F├╝rstenberg, Christian Louboutin and Stella McCartney.

His laptop computer had been used to access websites linked to bondage ­practices and there were unfounded reports that £18,000 had gone missing.

A man and woman of “Mediterranean appearance” were also hunted after being seen entering the building but have never been found, causing some to suggest they were either agents of a foreign power sent to kill Gareth or involved in sex games with him.

It was discovered that it was possible for someone of Gareth’s size and trim build to climb into the bag and padlock the zip shut from inside.

The source said the laptop, on which Gareth stored his coursework, led them to quiz his college tutor Cheryl Eastap about the module she was teaching and whether her pupil might have gone beyond the boundaries of what was expected. It hasn’t been suggested Ms Eastap instructed her students to take part in any dangerous experiments.

The police source added: “It’s most likely he was using the dresses as part of his studies, rather than being a cross-dresser. He had also visited websites linked to bondage although he may have simply been looking up ways to lock himself up and then unlock himself.”

One of the fellow pupils on Gareth’s course said the spy was not known to be gay and had a series of girlfriends.The student added: “Gareth was ­passionate about clothes and everyone assumed this is what he wanted to do as a career.

“No-one knew he was a spy or ­working for MI6 but he was very polite and quiet. He was extremely clever, good at what he was doing and had clearly ­researched his subject.

“The police came to the college and took all the work he had produced for the course and any projects he was involved in.”

The brochure for the course says: “We will cover the basics of fashion design including inspiration, ­research, developing your ideas, figure illustration and portfolio preparation.”

Ms Eastap confirmed she had been questioned by police over the ­possible links between his death and a project called Living Spaces.

However, she insisted the death must have been caused by ­something, or someone, else.

She said: “The police did come to see me. The idea that his death and his work on the course was linked is a crazy idea that the police dreamed up. They said it might relate to it but I can’t see how it relates at all.”

Last month Sian Lloyd-Jones, Gareth’s childhood sweetheart and best friend, said he often bought her designer clothes and that all those found in his flat were a size 6 or 8. They would not have fitted him but may have been intended for her or his ­sister.

She added: “He was really open with his friends and family about his ­personal life and I truly believe if he had any interest in homosexuality he would have spoken to his sister and to me as well.

“I’m not in denial and nor are ­Gareth’s mum, dad or sister. It would have been fine if he was but he had too much ­interest in women.”

s.boniface@sundaymirror.co.uk

The First Post : Did spy Gareth Williams die in bizarre art accident?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Did spy Gareth Williams die in bizarre art accident?
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Police now believe MI6 man zipped himself in holdall as art project

By Eliot Sefton | January 16, 2011

In a theory which seems so totally bizarre it might just be true, police now believe MI6 officer Gareth Williams zipped himself into a holdall in the bath in his flat as research for an art project - but suffocated before he could get out again.

A GCHQ codebreaker on secondment to MI6, where his work made him privy to highly classified anti-terrorism material, Williams was found dead on August 23 last year in a government safe house where he had been living.

At least a week after he had last been seen alive, his body was discovered in a North Face holdall in the bath at his top-floor apartment in Pimlico, a short walk from MI6 headquarters.

Problematically for investigators, no cause of death could be determined. Theories about Williams's death have since ranged from polonium poisoning by foreign agents to bizarre sex games gone wrong.

Now, the Sunday Mirror says, police have come up with the strangest theory yet.

Investigation of Williams's laptop revealed he had paid £695 to join a 10-week part-time course at Central St Martin's College in London titled Fashion Design for Beginners.

St Martin's is an illustrious place to study fashion, with alumi among the world's top designers, including Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Stella McCartney - so it is evident that the thorough codebreaker had done his research and was serious about the course.

The fashion course also explains the presence of £15,000-worth of designer dresses, including some by Stella McCartney, and pairs of shoes in Williams's flat. It had earlier been claimed he was a cross-dresser - though the clothes were still wrapped.

Police also discovered Williams had visited bondage websites on his laptop. The new theory suggests there may have been no sexual motive for this.

A police source told the newspaper: "He had also visited websites linked to bondage although he may have simply been looking up ways to lock himself up and then unlock himself."

Why? Because, police believe, he had been given a project by his St Martin's tutor titled 'Living Spaces'.

They now think the holdall may have been an attempt by Williams to research a project on exactly how little living space it is possible to exist in - research that went horribly wrong when the fit 31-year-old found himself trapped and suffocated in the August heat.

The theory is so bizarre it's tempting to believe it: and it certainly should provide comfort for Williams's family, who have made public their dismay at the suggestion he was leading secret double life as a cross-dressing, gay, bondage enthusiast.

Williams's close friend Sian Lloyd-Jones said last month: "It would have been fine [by us] if he was [gay] but he had too much ­interest in women.

"He was really open with his friends and family about his ­personal life and I truly believe if he had any interest in homosexuality he would have spoken to his sister and to me as well."

But at least one person close to story seems to find the new theory less than convincing: Williams's fashion tutor, Cheryl Eastap. She told the newspaper: "The police did come to see me.

"The idea that his death and his work on the course was linked is a crazy idea that the police dreamed up. They said it might relate to it but I can’t see how it relates at all."

And security analysts reacted with extreme scepticism to the suggestion that Williams could have zipped himself into the holdall when it was first mooted in September. At the time it was thought he had zipped himself in for sexual reasons.

But if the theory is bunk, where did it come from? Could it be a clumsy attempt to atone to Williams's family and friends for the earlier slurs - while the truth of his death remains an espionage-shrouded mystery?

Daily Mail : 'Spy in the bag' inquest delayed as police chase new leads

Sunday, January 16, 2011

'Spy in the bag' inquest delayed as police chase new leads

By Mail On Sunday Reporter | January 16, 2011

The mystery over the MI6 spy found locked in a sports bag has taken a new twist after his inquest was delayed.

The hearing into the death of Gareth Williams, 31, was due to take place at Westminster Coroner’s Court on February 15, but it has now been adjourned and no new date has been set.

The postponement to allow further investigations by police will raise fresh questions about the baffling case.

Detectives are following new leads about a couple who called at his flat before he died. They have received several possible names for the man and woman who visited the codebreaker’s MI6-owned flat in Pimlico, London, in June or July last year.

Mr Williams’s body was found at the apartment inside a padlocked North Face holdall on August 23. Two post-mortems failed to establish how he died, while toxicology tests found no evidence of drugs, alcohol or poisons in his system.

At a Press conference last month, detectives issued e-fit pictures of the man and woman, both believed to be in their 20s and of Mediterranean appearance.

They were let into the block of four flats by a tenant on the ground floor. The couple told her they had keys to Mr Williams’s flat, number four, but said they were there to visit someone called Pier Paolo.