- Daily Mail report on September 12, 2010
- Daily Mail report on August 30, 2015 (clear evidence of government assassination, whether UK or Russia)
By Simon Walters and Glen Owen
UPDATED: 12:40 GMT, 12 September 2010
Police believe the MI6 spy found dead in a sports bag in a bath inside his flat may have died after a bizarre sex game went wrong, according to well-placed sources.
The Mail on Sunday has learned that a woman police officer climbed into the holdall in which codebreaker Gareth Williams’ naked body was found, re-enacting the events which it is thought could have led to his death.
She managed to zip up the bag and padlock it from the inside, leading investigators to conclude that Mr Williams may have done the same for sexual kicks and suffocated when he could not reopen it.
The theory was bolstered by the fact that a key to the padlock was found alongside his body inside the £150 bag.
Despite being crouched in the holdall, the police officer was able to squeeze her hand through a small gap between the padlock and the zip fastener and lock it from the inside.
Police believe Mr Williams may have gone through the same extraordinary routine, and then passed out, possibly as a result of panic when he was unable to reopen the padlock.
The identity of the officer who undertook the unusual police assignment is not known.
She was chosen partly because her petite size is similar to the slim and short frame of 31-year-old keep-fit fanatic Mr Williams.
His body was found in an extra-large North Face bag, a type which is favoured by explorers because of its 140 litres of storage capacity, durable material, double stitching, twin haul handles and locking zips.
Erotic asphyxiation is defined as the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal.
The practice claimed the life of Tory MP Stephen Miligan, whose body was found in 1994 with a bag over his head and an orange in his mouth.
Trapped: Mr Williams body was found in a sports bag like this one. It is only 32 inches long and only slightly taller than a newspaper. Detectives believe he may have suffocated after accidentally locking himself inside.
Figures have not been recorded for the number of auto-erotic fatalities (AEFs) in America, although it is estimated between 500 and 1,000 occur in the US every year.
Although most AEFs arise from the use of a noose to restrict the supply of oxygen, deaths have occurred after victims put themselves into bags.
In one example, a Yale University student died after zipping himself into an airtight vinyl bag and binding his hands.
Police have been mystified since cycling enthusiast Mr Williams was found dead inside his £400,000 two-bedroom flat in Pimlico, half-a-mile from the MI6 HQ in Westminster, three weeks ago.
The initial reaction of the police constable who discovered his body was: ‘This is a murder scene.’
There were also rumours that Mr Williams was the victim of a professional ‘hit’. Other theories included the suggestion that he had been murdered by Russian agents.
Tests on his body were ordered to establish whether he was poisoned, as happened when Polonium 210 radiation was used to murder exiled Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
Initial toxicology tests showed no traces of alcohol or recreational drugs in Mr Williams’ system.
Police sources say that the results of more sophisticated tests, carried out to establish the cause of death, might not be known for up to a fortnight.
The MI6 agent’s family have angrily accused the Government of running a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to blacken his name after reports that he was gay and a cross-dresser.
Police denied claims that gay magazines, bondage gear and the phone numbers of gay escort men were found in the apartment near his body.
Police also dismissed allegations of irregularities in his finances and that a top-secret laptop computer had gone missing from his flat.
Crucially, there was no evidence of violence and no cuts or bruises on Mr Williams’ body, suggesting there had been no struggle.
Crucially, there was no evidence of violence and no cuts or bruises on Mr Williams’ body, suggesting there had been no struggle.
Nor was there any sign of forced entry to his flat, suggesting he either knew his killer and let them in – or there was no killer.
Mr Williams, from Anglesey, North Wales, worked as a cipher and codes expert for the Government’s eavesdropping centre GCHQ in Cheltenham.
He was on a year-long secondment to MI6 which was due to end days after he was found dead.
A child prodigy who had a degree in maths at 17 and went on to obtain a PhD, Mr Williams had the highest security clearance available to an intelligence officer and was part of a secretive ‘cell’ that created devices that can steal data from mobiles and laptops.
He carried out similar work on frequent visits to the National Security Agency in the US.
Mr Williams, who lived on his own and did not have a partner, returned from a ‘planned holiday’ in the US on Wednesday, August 11.
Using his mobile phone to track his last whereabouts, police trawling through CCTV discovered that Mr Williams had made several shopping trips to London’s West End and Knightsbridge on August 14 and 15.
After visiting Harrods, he walked towards a nearby Dolce & Gabbana store, though he did not go in. It is the last time he was seen alive.
Last night a Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage of the investigation. We are keeping an open mind about the case.’
Mystery of meetings with couple in a cafe five miles from home
By ABUL TAHER and IAN GALLAGHER
Gareth Williams had a series of mysterious meetings at a cafe in the weeks leading up to his death.
Witnesses said the MI6 codebreaker’s late-morning encounters at Patisserie Valerie in Holland Park, West London, took place twice a week and never lasted longer than a few minutes.
Mr Williams, who lived five miles away in Pimlico, usually met a man and a dark-haired woman in their early 30s, although the man occasionally turned up alone.
Mysterious meetings: Spy Gareth Williams had a series of rendezvous with a couple at a Holland Park Patisserie according to waitresses Magdalena Kolakowska and Susana Ribeiro
Polish waitress Magdalena Kolakowska, 24, recalled that Mr Williams would sit at the back of the dimly lit cafe ‘so he could keep an eye on the door’.
Ordering an Americano coffee, he then ‘waited for the couple to approach his table and speak to him’. Miss Kolakowska added: ‘They would come up to him as if they had suddenly just seen him and say, “Hi.” They would speak to him for two or three minutes and go. They would never sit down or have a coffee with him.’
In all, she recalls about eight such encounters. She could not remember any items passing between them and heard nothing of their conversations because all three spoke in low voices.
But it was the brevity of the meetings – coupled with their regularity – that struck staff
as odd. They assumed that Mr Williams, who was dressed casually, was local.
'He was achieving rare high scores on these espionage and war games that are played on the internet. I know it sounds daft, but this is how he was discovered.’
Last week, police announced they were seeking a man and a woman, both of Mediterranean appearance, who called at Mr Williams’ home late one evening in June or July.
Although the man and woman at the cafe are roughly the same age as the couple being sought by police, staff say they did not look Mediterranean.
Patisserie Valerie is next to Holland Park Underground station, where Mr Williams was caught on CCTV on August 14, some 24 hours before he was last seen alive.
Inquiries by this newspaper have established that he visited Holland Park up to four times a week in the two months before his death.
Besides Patisserie Valerie, he went to other cafes and was seen at a nearby Hilton Hotel. He invariably arrived on his bicycle and was always seen between 10am and 1pm.
Holland Park is primarily an upmarket residential district, although a number
of countries, including Russia and Uzbekistan, maintain embassies there.
Another Polish waitress at Patisserie Valerie, 29-year-old Susana Ribeiro, also recalled seeing Mr Williams there – the last occasion just after he had returned from a holiday in the US on August 11.
‘If he wasn’t sitting inside at the back, he would park his bike at the lamp-post, sit at the middle table outside and have a coffee,’ she said.
Miss Kolakowska added: ‘Some days he would bring a device with him that looked like an Apple iPad, but was much bigger, and he would watch news or some moving picture on it.’
Vanessa Riley, a pensioner in her 60s who lives in a flat behind Holland Park station, said she saw Mr Williams in two other cafes near the station over the summer.
'Some days he would bring a device with him that looked like an Apple iPad, but was much bigger, and he would watch news or some moving picture on it.’
Mrs Riley became so concerned after she heard of his death she reported what she saw to police. ‘All I can say is I saw him meeting people at these cafes,’ she said.
Last night police refused to be drawn on the significance of the sightings.
Detectives have already tracked Mr Williams’ movements to Holland Park, apparently by checking his journeys on his Oyster ticket, the plastic travel card commuters use on the Underground.
They took away CCTV footage from 29 different cameras at Holland Park station and have since released footage of Mr Williams arriving at the station on August 14 and, the following day, shopping in Harrods.
There were reports yesterday that Mr Williams’ family, upset at the slow progress of the police investigation into his death, want to commission their own post-mortem examination.
Meanwhile, security sources said that Mr Williams was recruited by GCHQ after it became aware of his ‘extraordinary prowess at computer games’.
‘He was achieving rare high scores on these espionage and war games that are played on the internet,’ said a source. ‘I know it sounds daft, but this is how he was discovered.’
Two years ago, GCHQ ran an advertising campaign in online games, including Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent, to tempt web-savvy graduates to become spies.
Spy found dead in a bag 'had infuriated his MI6 bosses by illegally hacking into secret US data on Bill Clinton'
- Gareth Williams's body was found in a bag at his London flat five years ago
- Spy illegally hacked into secret data on former U.S. president Bill Clinton
- Personal voicemail messages left by the spy were deleted after he died
By Jenny Stanton for the Daily Mail
Published: 10:49 GMT, 30 August 2015 | Updated: 13:56 GMT, 30 August 2015
The British spy whose body was found padlocked inside a bag in his flat had illegally hacked into secret data on former U.S. president Bill Clinton, it has been revealed.
Gareth Williams, 31, was discovered in a holdall in the bath at his London home five years ago this month, but the mystery surrounding his death has never been solved.
Today, it has been revealed the spy had dug out a guest list for an event Clinton was due to attend as a favour for a friend.
The hack breached Mr Williams' security clearance and this sparked anger among MI6 bosses as tensions rose with U.S. security services over the spy's transatlantic work, The Sun on Sunday has reported.
A source said: 'The Clinton diary hack came at a time when Williams' work with America was of the most sensitive nature.
'It was a diplomatic nightmare for Sir John Sawers, the new director of MI6 at the time.'
The paper has also reported that voicemail messages Mr Williams, a maths genius and expert cryptographer, left for family and friends were deleted shortly after his death.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that detectives who investigated the mysterious death believe he was murdered and that his killers then broke back in through a skylight to cover their tracks.
The claim centres on the revelation that part of the forensic equipment placed in the flat after the body was found was moved – despite the fact the building was under armed police guard.
The theory supports his family’s suspicions he was murdered by ‘agents specialising in the dark arts of the secret services’.
Mr Williams had been working with the American National Security Agency in Washington before returning to London, where he underwent training and was sent on active operations.
The exact nature of his work remains a closely guarded secret, but sources claim he dealt with equipment that tracked the flow of cash from Russia to Europe.
The technology enabled MI6 to follow money trails from bank accounts in Russia to criminal European gangs. One theory is that Mr Williams had disrupted a mafia ring closely linked to the Russian state.
Cars registered to the Russian Embassy were spotted near his Pimlico flat just days before his body was discovered on August 23, 2010.
Mr Williams was last seen alive on August 15 – a Kremlin car was seen near his property that day.
Other lines of inquiry, also dismissed by the Metropolitan Police at the time, were that he was killed by MI6 or American agents after stumbling on sensitive data, or because he threatened to make secret intelligence public.
There were also claims Mr Williams may have been killed by a lover during a bizarre sex game.
Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox, who heard the 2012 inquest into his death, criticised MI6 for failing to report that the spy had been missing for a week, saying this caused extra suffering for his family and led to the loss of forensic evidence.
The delay, for which MI6 apologised, also meant a Home Office pathologist was unable to find a cause of death.
Dr Wilcox concluded that Mr Williams’s death was ‘unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated’.
She said she was satisfied ‘on the balance of probabilities that Gareth was killed unlawfully’, as it was likely someone else had put his body in the bag and locked it.
But a year later, Scotland Yard ended a review of the investigation, saying it was more likely Williams had locked himself in the bag and that no one else was involved.
This is despite there being no traces of Mr Williams' own DNA on the padlock of the bag he was found in. His palm prints were not found on the bathtub which held the bag.
Another theory was that Mr William's was poisoned. Former Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton was the most senior officer on the scene when he arrived at Mr Williams' flat in Pimlico on August 23, 2010.
He thought the flat was unusually warm when he arrived, claiming the heating was turned up to its maximum setting, possibly to assist with decomposition.
He said: 'If he had been poisoned, then the chemical compounds might have vanished by the time toxicology results were conducted.'
THEORIES SURROUNDING SPY GARETH WILLIAMS' DEATH
- The Russian mafia assassinated him in a bid to stop him investigating money-laundering networks.
- He was killed by MI6 or American agents after stumbling on sensitive data, or because he threatened to make secret intelligence public.
- Mr Williams was killed by a lover during a bizarre sex game. It has been claimed he had close links with London's drag and bondage scenes.
- The spy locked himself in the bag and no one else was involved.
- He was poisoned.
- Agents killed Mr Williams then got into his flat through a skylight to destroy evidence.