Sun : Inquest hears 'spy in bag' wanted to quit London over red tape

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Inquest hears 'spy in bag' wanted to quit London over red tape

Neil Millard | April 24, 2012

AN MI6 spy found dead in a bag at his flat was unhappy in London and complained of “friction” with intelligence chiefs over red tape, his inquest heard yesterday.

Gareth Williams had asked to be transferred back to GCHQ in Gloucestershire because he hated the "rat race" and "flash car competitions", but secret service bosses were “dragging their feet”.

The 31-year-old had been on a three-year secondment. But, with the agreement of MI6 chiefs, the cycling enthusiast was set to finally return to the West Country a week after he was found dead in August 2010.

His sister Ceri Subbe insisted he would not have let a potential killer into his apartment, adding: “I cannot emphasise enough his conscientiousness.”

In a statement, she told Westminster Coroner's Court: “He disliked office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race. He even spoke of friction in the office.”

Explaining her comment, Ms Subbe said: “The job was not quite what he expected. He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with.”

The policeman who was first to find him dead in a holdall told how he was surprised not to have smelled his rotting corpse sooner.

PC John Gallagher said he only picked up the “particular smell” of a body when he tried to lift the bag up.

He said: “I looked at the bag to try to get a picture. I noticed that the side nearest the door had a round bulge.

“I noticed there was a padlock with the two zips joined together.

“At this point I am realising it is something serious and my concern was to not damage anything in a crime scene.”

He lifted the bag up “by six or seven inches” and saw red fluid seeping out.

The cop was on foot patrol when he received instructions to carry out a “welfare check” on Mr Williams who had not been seen for around 12 days.

PC Gallagher knocked repeatedly on the door without reply. He said he noticed a woman’s wig when he was eventually let in by a letting agent.

He made his way into the flat’s bathroom, noticing a bulging red North Face holdall in the bath, with the zips padlocked together.

PC Gallagher had entered the top-floor flat in Pimlico, central London, at around 5pm on August 23, 2010. It is just half a mile from MI6’s headquarters.

He called for assistance and after Detective Sergeant Paul Colgan turned up the bag was cut open and Mr Williams’s body found.

His sister was asked about £20,000 of women’s clothes which were found in his flat after he died.

She said it was “not particularly” surprising, adding that they were “possibly a gift”.

The inquest continues.