Salisbury Journal : Army sergeant comes up with 'spy in the bag' solution

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Army sergeant comes up with 'spy in the bag' solution

Elizabeth Kemble | May 16, 2012

AN army sergeant from Shrewton has demonstrated how an MI6 code breaker found dead inside a padlocked holdall, could have climbed in himself.

Gareth Williams, 31, was found dead at a Security Services flat in London on August 2010.

Earlier this month an inquest concluded Mr Williams’ death was "unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated" after an expert witness tried and failed to lock himself inside a similar bag.

But Sgt Jim Fetherstonhaugh remained intrigued by what has become known as the “spy in the bag” case and decided to experiment himself.

He got hold of a bag identical to the one used in the case and asked his 16-year-old daughter, Izzie, to climb inside.

They discovered that by drawing the two zips together a gap opened up enabling Izzie to put her hands through the spaces and padlock the zips together.

To completely close the bag, she then stretched out until the bag became taut and the zip closed itself.

Sgt Fethersonhaugh said: “I have always known locking bags like this with a padlock was never secure – it’s just a deterrent, if anything, as you can always get access to the bag by grabbing hold of the material on either side and pulling it apart.

“If you can pull back the zip on the outside then you can do the same from the inside.”

While Izzie is about 3ins shorter than Mr Williams at 5ft 5ins, her father said the method of padlocking the holdall would remain the same.

Sgt Fetherstonhaugh media informed the Met Police via the force’s 101 number but has yet to hear back from them.

“That chap at the inquest said he had tried it 300 times and it was impossible - it’s not,” he said. “Of course it would be more of a hindrance if you’re bigger but it was just to prove you can do it.

During the inquest two experts in confined space rescue or “unusual occurrences” tried and failed to climb into a bag unaided and lock it leading to one concluding that even famed escapologist Harry Houdini would have struggled.

Police investigations are continuing into the case.