In 2010, Gareth Williams, an M16 agent, was found dead in a bag in his apartment. Here’s what we know about Gareth Williams’s life, his mysterious death, and what the inquest revealed.
Gareth Williams, an M16 agent, was discovered dead in a zipped bag at his London apartment in 2010.
There were many theories regarding his unexplained death, with the most prevalent being that it may have been related to the secret intelligence work he performed as a Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) officer.
Various films have examined the mystery surrounding Williams’ murder over the years, including Channel 5’s The Body In The Bag – which airs tonight – and Sky’s Once Upon A Time In Londongrad.
Norman Baker, a former Liberal Democrat minister in David Cameron’s coalition government, and Boris Karpichkov, a former KGB major who fled to Britain in 1998, have recently claimed in a podcast that Williams was murdered because he was close to identifying a Russian mole in the British security services.
Baker stated, “Based on the data we’ve been able to gather and that has been made public, I believe it was likely the Russians who were responsible. Gareth Williams had Russian ties in the sense that he initially investigated Russian business operations in the City of London for GCHQ and was later seconded to MI6.
He continued, “I believe the most plausible scenario is that he was conversing with a Russian in his apartment. Then it became evident that he knew the name of the purported Russian mole within GCHQ.”
Karpichkov continued, “It’s only my idea, but I believe he was poisoned, rendering him unable to move.”
Here is what we know about Gareth Williams’ death, after years of rumors, conspiracy theories, and multiple investigations.
About Gareth Williams
Gareth Williams was born in Valley on Anglesey and reared there. Friends described Williams as “quiet and modest,” and he passed his GCSE in mathematics at age 10.
The outstanding student, who completed his A-levels at the age of 14 and graduated from Bangor University at the age of 17, earned his doctorate in computer science at the University of Manchester.
In 2001, Williams began working with expert code-breakers, cryptologists, and analysts after his intellect was recognized by GCHQ.
He was seconded to the London headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, in 2009.
One year after moving into a government-rented apartment in Pimlico, his body was discovered there.
What happened to Gareth Williams?
In the summer of 2010, Gareth Williams vacationed in America. He returned to London on August 11 and was scheduled to return to work at GCHQ later that month, prematurely concluding his secondment with MI6.
In the days following his vacation, Williams was seen on CCTV using the London Underground and visiting shops in the West End and Knightsbridge.
He also visited a comedy club in Bethnal Green, East London, to attend The Johnny Woo Experience, a transvestite performance.
Williams was an avid cyclist, and his laptop was used in the early hours of August 16 to access a cycling website.
The police were contacted on August 22 when Williams failed to return to work and his coworkers were unable to reach him for five days.
The police discovered Gareth’s deteriorating body inside a padlocked suitcase inside the bathtub of the master bedroom’s en-suite bathroom when they arrived at his London apartment. The lock’s keys were discovered within the bag beneath his body.
What was Gareth Williams’ cause of death?
When the Westminster Mortuary looked at Gareth’s body after he died, they found “no obvious cause of death.”
The toxicology tests also showed that he didn’t have any alcohol or drugs in his body.
He was thought to have died of suffocation. During an investigation into his death in 2012, a pathologist said that Williams died in the bag because he didn’t have enough oxygen and was breathing in his own carbon dioxide.
Police didn’t find any signs of a struggle in Gareth’s apartment and didn’t find any suspicious forensic evidence at the scene. This led the Met to believe that Gareth had done it on his own. His Internet history showed that he looked at sites about bondage in the days before he died, but it’s still not clear how Gareth got himself into the red sports bag if he was acting out a sexual fantasy.
Sources for the Channel 5 documentary said that the agent was looking into international money laundering before he died. This led to the idea that he was killed on purpose.
Dr. Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, said that Williams was probably killed illegally because the cause of death was “unnatural and likely to have been a result of criminal activity.”
A year later, Scotland Yard said that his death was an accident because he got into the bag on his own and died there. But his family has stood by Dr. Wilcox’s conclusions, saying that her verdict “was true to the facts.”
The Sunday Times said in 2021 that advances in DNA science might make it possible to do more research on some of the samples found at the scene.
The Met said in February 2021 that they would review information about the case. They later confirmed that a re-examination was happening and that detectives are waiting for the results.