M16 agent Gareth Williams was found dead in a bag inside his flat in 2010. Here’s everything we know about Gareth Williams’ life, his mysterious death and revelations from the inquest as Channel 5 documentary The Body In The Bag airs
M16 agent Gareth Williams was found dead by police officers inside a zipped bag at his London flat back in 2010.
There was lots of speculation about his mysterious death, with the most popular one suggesting that it might be linked to the secret intelligence work he carried out in his work as a Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) officer.
The mystery behind Williams’ death has been explored in different documentaries over the years, including Channel 5’s The Body In The Bag – which airs tonight – and Sky’s Once Upon A Time In Londongrad.
After years of rumours, conspiracy theories and several investigations, here’s everything we know about Gareth Williams’ death.
Who was Gareth Williams?
Gareth Williams was born and raised in Valley on Anglesey. Described by friends as “shy and modest”, Williams excelled at maths, passing his GCSE at the age of 10.
The brilliant student, who took his A-levels at 14 and graduated Bangor University aged just 17, completed his PhD in computer science at the University of Manchester.
Noticed by GCHQ for his intelligence, Williams began working alongside the elite code-breakers, cryptologists and analysts in 2001.
In 2009, he joined the London headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, more popularly known as MI6, on secondment.
He moved into a government-rented flat in Pimlico, where he was found dead one year later.
What happened to Gareth Williams?
Gareth Williams went on holiday to America in the summer of 2010. He returned to London on August 11 and was supposed to return to work at GCHQ later that month, ending his secondment at MI6 earlier than planned.
In the days after his holiday, Williams was captured on CCTV travelling around London on the tube as well as visiting shops in the West End and Knightsbridge.
He also went to a comedy club in Bethnal Green in East London to watch the transvestite show The Johnny Woo Experience.
Williams was a keen cyclist and his laptop was used to check a cycling website in the early hours of August 16.
On August 22, police were called after Williams didn’t return to work and his colleagues were unable to contact him for five days.
Police arrived at Gareth’s London flat to find his naked, decomposing body inside a padlocked bag, placed inside the bathtub of the main bedroom’s en-suite bathroom. Keys to the lock were found inside the bag under his body.
What was Gareth Williams’ cause of death?
A post-mortem examination of Gareth’s body at Westminster Mortuary established “no obvious cause of death”.
The toxicology tests also found no trace of any alcohol or routine or recreational drugs in his body.
His cause of death was thought to be suffocation. During a 2012 inquest into his case, a pathologist said that Williams died in the bag, from lack of oxygen and breathing in his own carbon dioxide.
Police found no signs of a struggle inside his flat and no suspicious forensic material at the scene, leading the Met to conclude that Gareth had acted alone. Sites in his internet browsing history indicated he’d been looking at bondage material in the days before his death, but questions remain over how Gareth had contorted himself into the red sports bag if he was acting out a sexual fantasy.
The agent had been investigating international money laundering before his death, according to sources who contributed to the Channel 5 documentary, resulting in theories he had been targeted for murder.
Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox ruled that Williams had probably been killed unlawfully, saying that the cause of death was “unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated”.
A year later, Scotland Yard ruled his death as accidental, saying he died by getting into the bag on his own. However his family have stood by Dr Wilcox’s conclusions, saying that her verdict “accurately reflected the circumstances”.
In 2021, the Sunday Times reported that advancements in DNA science may help conduct a further study into some of the samples found at the scene.
In February 2021, the Met said they would be reviewing information related to the case and later, they confirmed that a re-examination was underway and that detectives are awaiting results.
An official said: “There is an established review process for investigations whereby new information and, or forensic opportunities are considered.”
*The Body In The Bag airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5
Source: The Mirror