Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Gareth Williams was unhappy working on secondment with the intelligence service MI6, it was said.

By Cyril Dixon | April 24, 2012

A SECRET service officer whose naked body was found locked in a sports bag had asked to quit his job after complaining of “friction”, an inquest heard yesterday.

Code-cracker Gareth Williams was unhappy working on secondment with the intelligence service MI6, it was said.

The 31-year-old mathematics genius had asked to return to his old job at GCHQ, the intelligence-gathering base.

Mr Williams’ tearful sister told the inquiry how the keen cyclist and runner had wanted to leave the capital.

Ceri Subbe said: “He disliked the London office culture, the post-work drinks, the flash car competitions and the rat race. He even spoke of friction in the office.”

She went on: “Initially I gained the impression that Gareth was enjoying life in London.

“But as time went by, I began to feel he missed the countryside and he longed to ride his bike in the open air without the smog and the constant fear of being run over by a bendy bus.”

Mrs Subbe added: “He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with.

“More than anything, it was so he could get back to the countryside, where he could ride his bike.”

Mrs Subbe said her brother asked in April 2010 to return immediately to GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucs, but spy chiefs were ”dragging their feet” over the request.

They had not dealt with it by August 23, when his decomposing body was found in a red North Face holdall, placed in his bath, its zips secured by a padlock.

Police had gained access to the flat in Pimlico, central London, after Mr Williams failed to turn up for a meeting.

Mrs Subbe said she discussed the absence with one of his colleagues, and added: “He is very conscientious.

“The person I spoke to agreed, and said Gareth was like a Swiss clock – very punctual, very efficient, and it was very unlike him not to attend a meeting.”

Attending the inquest with their parents Ian and Ellen Williams, Mrs Subbe gave most of her evidence in a written statement, but also answered questions from Westminster coroner Fiona Wilcox.

Paying tribute to her sibling, she said: “In terms of a big brother figure, Gareth was perfect.”

She was not surprised he had £20,000 worth of womens’ clothes in his flat, adding that they could have been gifts or just a collection of “high value” goods.

Her brother, she said, was an “exceptional” academic who passed O-levels aged 10, A-levels a few years later, and studied at Bangor University aged just 16.

Mr Williams had never spoken to her about being threatened or followed, and she added: “I cannot think why anybody would want to harm him.”

She said he would never let a potential killer into his government-owned flat, adding that he was the “most scrupulous risk-assessor” she had ever known.

PC John Gallagher, who found the body, told the inquest of the eerie scene inside the flat after he was let in by the managing agency.

He said he was send to look for the missing occupant, but his attention was caught by a woman’s wig hung on a chair.

There were some yellow sports holdalls in the bedroom, and the duvet cover was half off the bed, trailing on the floor.

There was also a neatly folded pile of clothing on the bed and a bathrobe on the floor. He eventually walked into the flat’s bathroom, where he noticed the bulging red holdall in the bath with the zips padlocked together.

Family members want to know why the alarm had not been raised earlier.

By the time officers arrived at his flat, Mr Williams’s body was so decomposed that evidence had been lost.

Dr Wilcox has indicated she may want to see a practical demonstration of how Mr Williams could have got into the bag and manage to lock it himself.

The inquest continues today.