Channel 4 : MI6 spy Gareth Williams 'tied himself up'

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

MI6 spy Gareth Williams 'tied himself up'

April 25, 2012

A former landlady of Gareth Williams, the MI6 spy who was found dead inside a padlocked bag in his bath, describes how she once had to set him free by untying him from his bed.

Jennifer Elliot told an inquest how she and her husband heard Mr Williams shouting for help in the middle of the night while he was staying in an annex to her home that she had rented out to him when he worked for GCHQ in Cheltenham three years ago.

In a statement to Westminster Coroner's Court, she described how she and her husband unlocked the door to his room to find him lying in bed wearing his boxer shorts, with the sheets pulled over his legs and his wrists tied to the headboard.

"My husband said 'What the bloody hell are you doing'? and he said, 'I just wanted to see if I could get free'. He was very embarrassed."

Mr Williams told her husband that there was a knife on the side, and he used it to cut the spy free.

"We said, 'Gareth, we can't have you doing this'," the statement continued. "He agreed and said it wouldn't happen again."


Ms Elliot said that she and her husband discussed the incident, and concluded that it was more likely to be "sexual than escapology", but added that he had not been aroused when they went to free him, and that no sperm had been found nearby.

His flat, she said, had always been immaculate, and the couple had never discovered anything "of a sexual or fetish nature" there.

Mr Williams was due to move back into their flat in November 2010 when his secondment to MI6 from GCHQ had ended. But instead, his naked and decomposing body was discovered in the padlocked hold-all in August 2010 in his flat in Pimlico, in London.

At the inquest, Mr Williams' family's lawyer, Anthony O'Toole, raised questions over whether his work computer could have been tampered with by the Secret Intelligence Service after his body was discovered.

He also asked how the press received leaks which suggested that his home computer showed he had visited websites about claustrophilia – the love of enclosure – and bondage and sadomasochism.

The electronic equipment was handed to Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, SO15, four days after his death came to light.

Superintendent Michael Broster, who was responsible for SO15's involvement, said he did not know how the leaks had emerged, and said that Mr Williams' workplace had been "sealed and taped".

"I can't tesitify absolutely it wasn't interfered with," he said. "However I've no reason to suspect it was."

Another name?

Previous evidence at the inquest has heard how police who entered his home discovered £20,000 of designer women's clothing and shoes.

According to Carol Kirton, he regularly went to an upmarket west London fashion store at Dover Street Market, and bought women's items he said were for his girlfriend, whom he described as "tall and slim", but whose name he never mentioned.

On Wednesday, his friend, Elizabeth Guthrie, told the inquest that she did not believe Mr Williams was a cross-dresser, and that the clothes may have been "Gareth's attempt at a support strategy for someone".

She said: "I have a personal view that he was straight," Ms Guthrie told the court.

But she added that she had suspected that he was a spy, and that he had told her he sometimes used another name.

Ms Guthrie added that although they had become close friends based on their shared love of history, art, travel and Japanese Manga cartoons, she had never been back to his flat.

"For someone to have been brought back to his own space would have been something of note and would have implied, in my view, a very strong relationship," she said.

"He may or may not have chosen to tell me about it but he would have told his family."

The inquest continues.