Date: 23 Aug 2010
Place: 36 Alderney Street, Pimlico
Gareth Williams was found dead inside a padlocked sports bag in an empty bath at his flat at 36 Alderney Street in Pimlico.
A Home Office pathologist was unable to determine his cause of death.
He was last seen alive on 15 August 2010 and his body was found on 23 August 2010. He was found dead in his flat after colleagues noticed that he hadn't been to work for a while.
He had been employed by GCHQ where he was a codebreaker for financial operations but was on secondment to MI6 in Vauxhall, London at the time. He was said to have been involved in tracking financial transactions from Russia to Europe and criminal syndicates.
He was found dead, seven days after he first went missing, in the sports bag that was zipped up and padlocked, however, there was no sign of a struggle. It was also stated that no fingerprints or DNA belonging to Gareth Williams was found on the rim of the bath suggesting that he had not himself climbed in. He was found in a foetal position in the bag and the keys to the padlock were found in the bag under his body.
Several people attempted to get in a similar bag and lock it after them, one 300 times and the other 100 times, but neither of them had been able to accomplish finally locking the bag after getting in but could not rule out the possibility that Gareth Williams had himself managed to do that.
It was noted that the heating to the flat had also been turned up even though it was the middle of summer.
There were also no signs of a break in at his flat.
At first it was thought that he might have died in a sex-game gone wrong or that he had locked himself in the bag but that was later ruled out after a Coroner ruled that his death was probably unlawful. The Coroner also said that his death was unnatural and likely to have been criminally meditated. The Coroner noted that when he was found he was naked and not wearing women's clothes or hi-heels. She also said that the involvement of intelligence services in his death was a legitimate line of inquiry but that there was no actual evidence to support that theory.
Gareth Williams was said to have been a cross-dresser and to have visited gay nightclubs and it was said that he had been blackmailed after compromising photos of him were taken and threats made to show them to his friends and family. £20k worth of women's clothing was found in his flat and he had visited bondage sex websites on the internet.
However, his friends and family said they didn't believe the clothes were for him and that he was not a cross-dresser and that they were probably for a girlfriend although analysis of his web usage showed that 50% was in the area of women's high fashion.
It was said that earlier on on a night out in the United States his drink had been spiked and that he had been taken to a bed where pictures of him were taken with a man and a woman.
It was later said by an ex-KGB agent in the UK that he might have been killed by Russian operatives who had injected the poison diphenhydramine into his earwax.
It was also said that Gareth Williams might have been approached by a Russian double agent working at GCHQ, codenamed Orion, to recruit him but that he had refused and was murdered to protect the identity of Orion. Reports stated that Orion had introduced Gareth Williams to a man with whom he later went to Las Vegas with for a specialist computer hacking convention where his drink was spiked and the compromising photos taken. It was then said that when he refused he was soon after murdered to protect the double agent, Orion, by a person that had gone to his flat with a bottle of wine.
It was also suggested that he might have been killed by the CIA or MI6 after he uncovered sensitive data or had threatened to publish clandestine intelligence.
Another theory suggested he might have been involved with disrupting a crime ring linked to Russian officials. Cars that were registered to the Russian Embassy were seen near his flat several days before his body was found whilst another car linked to Russian involvement was seen near his flat on the day he was murdered. However, Scotland Yard were said to have dismissed that possibility in 2010.
Other reports stated that following the discovery of his body, and whilst his flat was under armed guard, special agents from an unknown secret service scaled the walls, broke into his flat and removed some form of evidence. That theory was put together after special footplates used by the forensic teams were stated to have been moved on the second day of the investigation. It was thought that the footplates were moved by agents from another secret service who had broken in in desperation in order to move or conceal evidence.
His family said that they believed that his flat had been steam-cleaned after he was murdered.
Gareth Williams was described as a highly skilled cryptographer with an aptitude for maths. Before he was murdered he had been working alongside the US National Security Agency in Washington.
He was originally from Valley, near Holyhead in Anglesey, Wales.
In February 2021 it was announced that the the Metropolitan Police were going to review his death after it was heard that new evidence had come to light. They said, 'There is an established review process for investigations whereby new information and/or forensic opportunities are considered. At this stage no forensic review has been commissioned. However, the MPS is reviewing this new information and will assess whether there are any new investigative opportunities in this case'.
New evidence was said to have included DNA found on the bag's padlock, a hair found in his hand and a semen stain found on a towel.