Newstalk : UK spy who died in a bag probably locked himself in, review finds

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

UK spy who died in a bag probably locked himself in, review finds

November 13, 2013

MI6 agent Gareth Williams probably died after locking himself inside his own holdall, a fresh police review of the case has found.

The naked body of the 31-year-old was discovered in the bag in his central London flat in August 2010, triggering speculation that he had been targeted by foreign agents because of his work.

However, the latest investigation by the Metropolitan Police has found that Mr. Williams, who had a keen interest in escapology, probably died alone in an accident.

The finding directly contradicts the outcome of an inquest last year where the coroner had ruled that Mr Williams, a GCHQ codebreaker on secondment to MI6, had probably been "unlawfully killed".

The inquest had heard that two experts had tried 400 times to lock themselves in a similar bag but had failed. However, days after the inquest had finished, an Army Sergeant showed how it was possible to climb into the North Face holdall and do up the zip before padlocking it shut.

Announcing the findings on Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said the investigation had included that "on balance, it is a more probable conclusion that there was no other person present when Gareth died".

He said "Three years of extensive investigative activity have developed a very clear profile of Gareth. He was, without doubt, a private person who was very close to his family and had few other close friends. That said, the universal view of colleagues was of a conscientious and decent man with a few well-known hobbies such as his cycling and climbing".

"There is no evidence of any animosity towards Gareth, and it has not been possible to identify anyone with a motive for causing him harm" he added.

Mr. Williams was found inside the bag in the bath at his flat on August 23rd in 2010.

Pathologists said he would have suffocated within three minutes of being locked inside the bag. They said that none of his DNA had been found on the lock on the bag and his palm prints were not found on the rim of the bath.