British police announced that they consider the bizarre death of a UK spy to be an accident and that no one else was present in his apartment when it occurred, Raphael Satter of the Associated Press reports.
Gareth Williams, 30, a cyberwarfare expert working for Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping service and the overseas espionage agency MI6, was found naked in a padlocked gym bag in the bathroom of his central London flat on August 23, 2010.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said a” more probable conclusion that there was no other person present when Gareth died,” adding that there was “no evidence to support the theory that Gareth’s death was in any way related to his work.”
Some have raised the possibility that Williams locked himself in the bag as part of a sex game gone wrong. Investigators found that he had visited bondage and sadomasochism websites, including some related to claustrophilia — a desire for confinement in enclosed spaces.
Police concluded that it could have been possible for Williams to climb inside the sports bag and lock it.
Here are some still shots from a police video showing a man demonstrating if it was possible that Williams could have locked himself into the bag.
There are serious issues with that conclusion. Satter notes that “none of Williams’ DNA was found on the lock on the bag and his palm prints were not found on the rim of the bath.” Furthermore, it’s unclear how Williams would have been able to padlock the bag from the inside.
The coroner, Fiona Wilcox, concluded last year that Williams had probably been killed by another person in a “criminally meditated act.” Wilcox’s report was critical of MI6, which failed to pass evidence to investigating police.
Hewitt chief added that “for both hypotheses [of accident of murder], there exist evidential contradictions and gaps in our understanding.”
The death has been widely considered a murder since it occurred.
Here’s the Reuters caption for the last known photograph of Williams (published on September 7, 2010):
“A still image taken from a video security camera shows murder victim Gareth Williams at Holland Park tube station in London August 14, 2010.”
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