International

Police: British Spy's Strange Death Was 'Probably An Accident'

British intelligence official Gareth Williams worked for Britain's MI6 before his death three years ago. i i

British intelligence official Gareth Williams worked for Britain's MI6 before his death three years ago. Metropolitan Police/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Metropolitan Police/AP
British intelligence official Gareth Williams worked for Britain's MI6 before his death three years ago.

British intelligence official Gareth Williams worked for Britain's MI6 before his death three years ago.

Metropolitan Police/AP

Scotland Yard says it believes a British spy whose naked, decomposing body was found padlocked inside a gym bag in a bathtub three years ago, probably died accidentally.

Gareth Williams, 31, was working for Britain's MI6 spy agency when his body was found at his home in August 2010.

Last May, a coroner concluded that Williams was probably murdered, but on Wednesday London Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt told reporters that the death was "most probably ... an accident."

"I'm convinced that Gareth's death was in no way linked to his work," Hewitt said.

Reuters says that at the time his death was revealed, Williams' "spy background and the fact that expensive, unworn women's clothes were found at his flat provoked a wide range of 'weird and wonderful' theories."

The news agency says:

"The remains of the maths prodigy were found curled up inside a zipped and padlocked red hold-all at the London flat — an intelligence service 'safe house' — close to MI6's headquarters."

Detectives found no palm prints on the bath or DNA on the padlock, and no traces of alcohol, drugs or poison in Williams' body.

Instead, Reuters says, "they found make-up, a long-haired wig and unworn women's clothes and shoes worth around 20,000 pounds ($31,900). They also found images of transvestites, a picture of Williams wearing only boots, and evidence of visits to sexual bondage websites on his computer."

The Associated Press reports:

"Some have raised the possibility that Williams locked himself in the bag as part of a sex act gone wrong or an experiment in escapology — the Houdini-like art of wriggling out of restraints or traps. Investigators found that he had visited bondage and sadomasochism websites, including some related to claustrophilia — a desire for confinement in enclosed spaces.

"Police concluded — after several reenactments — that it was possible for Williams to climb inside the sports bag and lock it."

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