AFP : Dead MI6 spy 'once tied self to bed'

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dead MI6 spy 'once tied self to bed'

April 25, 2012

LONDON — A British spy who was later found dead in a padlocked bag once tied himself to his bed "to see if he could get free" and had to be rescued by his landlord and landlady, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

In the third day of hearings over the unexplained death of codebreaker Gareth Williams, 31, the court was read a statement from his former landlady in Cheltenham, where he worked for Britain's communications monitoring centre GCHQ.

"We were in bed and we heard Gareth shouting for help. It was about 1.30am and during winter," Jennifer Elliot said of the incident about three years before Williams died in 2010.

"We both got up, got the spare key and opened the door to the annexe.

"I called 'Are you ok?'. Gareth replied 'Can you help me?'

"We went upstairs and found him lying in his bed with both hands tied with material attached at the headboard."

The spy was dressed in just boxer shorts and was "not aroused" but "very embarrassed", she said.

"He said 'I just wanted to see if I could get myself free'."

Williams directed Elliot's husband to a knife in the room and he cut the bonds to free Williams, who promised it would not happen again.

"We obviously discussed it and thought it more likely to be sexual than escapology," she added.

Williams was later seconded to external intelligence agency MI6 in London, where in August 2010 his naked, decomposing body was found in a padlocked bag in a bathtub in his apartment.

Police have been unable to establish the cause of death, though they have unearthed no proof that anyone was with him when he died.

His family have said they believe secret agents versed in the "dark arts" tried to cover up his death.

But the inquest is looking into whether he could have entered the bag alone, after speculation he might have done so as part of a sex game.

There were small traces of someone else's DNA on the bag when it was found in his immaculate flat, which also contained £20,000 (24,500 euros, $32,200) worth of women's clothes and shoes, many from designer labels.

His sister, Ceri Subbe, told the inquest he was a "scrupulous risk assessor" who would never let anyone who was not security vetted into his flat.

She added he had been unhappy at MI6 and spoke of "friction in the office".

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