Daily Mail : Body-in-bag spy's teacher says lurid police claims about his private life were a 'decoy'

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Body-in-bag spy's teacher says lurid police claims about his private life were a 'decoy'

By Abul Taher | January 23, 2011

A former tutor of the MI6 spy found dead in a padlocked sports bag has claimed that lurid allegations about his private life were a ‘decoy’.

Cheryl Eastap said suggestions from anonymous police and security sources that Gareth Williams was gay and a cross-dresser – denied by his family and friends – were ‘hurtful’.

And she hinted that the leaks may have been made to make it appear that his death was an accident rather than something more sinister.

Ms Eastap taught the 31-year-old GCHQ code-breaker at Central St Martin’s College in London, where he completed a part-time course in clothing design weeks before his body was found at his flat.

‘The police should not have leaked all these things about him. It was hurtful to his family and it was a decoy. I don’t think he was gay or a cross-dresser. Maybe he collected dresses – fashion students do,’ she said, referring to the fact that £15,000 of designer costumes were found in Williams’s Central London flat.

Ms Eastap said Williams did not need the outfits for her course. ‘Students have to buy their own materials, but the dresses they found in his flat had nothing to do with my course. He did not need them.’

Although Williams’s body was found five months ago, no one has been arrested over his death or questioned as a suspect, despite a high-profile investigation by Scotland Yard, with the assistance of MI5 and MI6.

In the days after Williams’s body was discovered, lurid reports appeared quoting unnamed sources which alleged he was a secret homosexual who visited the capital’s gay bars.

The sources said bondage equipment was found in his Pimlico flat as well as telephone numbers for gay escorts. The claims were later officially denied by the Metropolitan Police.

But last month police revealed that they had found women’s clothing and wigs at his flat. They added that Williams visited bondage websites and had a ticket for a drag comedy night.

Last month The Mail on Sunday interviewed Williams’s childhood sweetheart Sian Lloyd-Jones, 33, who said Williams usually bought expensive dresses for her and his younger sister, Ceri.

Miss Lloyd-Jones said the dresses could not have been for Williams as they were too small for him, and that he would have told her or his sister if he was gay.

Ms Eastap also dismissed news¬paper reports last week that Williams might have locked himself in the North Face holdall as some kind of ‘homework’ for her course, which was exploring confined spaces.

A Scotland Yard spokesman declined to comment on whether the leaks came from police, MI5 or MI6. He added: ‘The investigation is ongoing.’