Money Control (India) : UK "spy in the bag" was once found tied to a bed

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

UK "spy in the bag" was once found tied to a bed

Reuters | April 25, 2012

LONDON (Reuters) - A British spy whose naked corpse was discovered padlocked inside a sports bag had years earlier been found tied to his bed and unable to free himself, an inquest was told on Wednesday.

Gareth Williams had shouted out for help in the middle of the night when he was living in an annexe of the home of his then landlady Jennifer Elliot in Cheltenham, western England.

The maths prodigy was at the time a codebreaker at the nearby Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the state eavesdropping service.

Williams was found by Elliot and her husband dressed only in boxer shorts with his hands tied to the headboard of the bed. He told her that he had been just "messing about", trying to see "if I could get myself free", the Telegraph newspaper reported.

In a written statement, Elliot said it was likely "to be sexual rather than escapology", the paper added.

Williams later took up a three-year secondment at the headquarters of Britain's foreign intelligence service MI6, whose offices are on the banks of the River Thames in central London.

In August 2010, his naked, decomposing corpse was found in his flat nearby, crouched in a foetal position in a padlocked bag in his bath.

A detective told the inquest on Tuesday that a "third party was involved in that padlock being locked, and Gareth being placed in the bag".

The inquest has also been told that Williams, who was single and intensely private, would not have let a stranger into his flat, and that he would not have given his keys to anyone apart from close family.

There were no signs of a break-in or indications of foul play.

Small amounts of unidentified DNA were detected on the bag.


Women's clothes and shoes worth about 20,000 pounds were found in the flat. They had never been worn.

A woman's wig and new makeup were also inside the flat.

A friend, Elizabeth Guthrie, who had known Williams for about a year, said on Wednesday she did not think he would have considered cross-dressing for sexual purposes, the Telegraph said.

She also said he would sometimes go by another name and would call her from different mobile phone numbers. He had never talked of being followed in the weeks before his death.

His sister has said he had become disaffected with London and was due to have returned to the quieter life of Cheltenham just days after his body was found.

The keen cyclist and hill-runner had disliked the "office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race", Ceri Subbe said on Monday, the opening day of the inquest.

Williams' mysterious death has absorbed the British media.

A lawyer for the dead man's family said last month a "member of some agency specialising in the dark arts of the secret services" might be responsible for his death, fuelling speculation that he had been killed by foreign spies and that MI6 might have covered it up.

The inquest is due to hear from 37 witnesses including four unnamed members of the intelligence services.

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby; editing by Andrew Roche)