LONDON — Metropolitan Police ruled that the death of an MI6 communications officer named Gareth Williams, whose body was found in a padlocked sports bag in a bathtub, was an “accident”, conflicting with a coroner’s report in 2012 which concluded that Williams was murdered.
Williams’s naked body was found in his Pimlico flat on August 23, 2010 after colleagues reported his disappearance. Williams was a cyber warfare expert who worked for Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency and was attached to MI6 at the time of his death.
Investigators hypothesized that Williams sealed himself in the bag as a part of a sex act, or an experiment in escapology. However, police couldn’t find Williams’s DNA on the lock, palm prints on the rim of the bath, or footprints in the bathroom itself, and it remains unexplained how Williams could have locked the bag once he was inside it. Also unexplained was why Williams’s iPhone had been reset to factory settings shortly before he died. A 2012 coroner’s inquest asserted that Williams was “killed unlawfully”, criticized MI6 for failing to pass evidence to investigating police, and noted that investigating the intelligence community’s role in Williams’s death was a “legitimate line of inquiry.”
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt dismissed the idea that British intelligence services were involved in Williams’s death.
“I do not believe that I have had the wool pulled over my eyes,” he said. “I believe that what we are dealing with is a tragic unexplained death.”