Immediately upon details reaching the public about the death of Gareth Williams did the conspiracy rumors begin to fly. And it would appear with good reason. It wasn’t the fact that Williams was found dead on 23rd August 2010, but where his body was discovered.
Almost a decade later, although officially ruled as an accidental death, there is still much unanswered regarding the mysterious last days and untimely demise of Gareth Williams. Many theories have surfaced as to the final days of the intelligence worker. As have many claims from anonymous sources indicating foul play. The one thing that connects all of them? They all contradict the apparent “official” version of events.
The case is even more bizarre and chilling than the apparent suicide of Dr David Kelly. The death of Gareth Williams again suggests that the intelligence world is perhaps murky and deadly in equal measure. While there is no definitive version as to just what did happen in the summer of 2010 in Williams’ apartment, there is still plenty in the public arena to examine. And what’s more, the picture it paints is a grim one to say the very least.
Before we move on, check out the video below. It looks at the basics of this most disturbing case.
A Most Disturbing Find
Following a weeks absence from work, Gareth Williams’ employers in the intelligence services where he worked as a GCHQ codebreaker, would contact police and request that they attend his property. They did, and what they found was further than even their worst assumptions.
After gaining access to the flat in an affluent area of London, police were greeted with a wave of heat. Later investigations would find the heating turned up to full. This was despite the fact it was a particularly hot week of an equally hot summer.
There were no signs of a struggle, but what they did find was a large hold-all bag sitting neatly in the bathtub. They would open the bag, and to their horror, would find the dead body of Williams neatly folded inside. In the bag with him, was the key to the lock on the zip. This would suggest, as impossible as it would sound, that Williams had locked the zip shut while inside the bag. Further still, he then somehow returned his hand, with the key inside it, into the bag.
Even stranger was the fact that there appeared to be no external injuries indicating an attack prior to his death. The apartment itself was largely undisturbed with no signs of a break-in.
Surely it was obvious to all that the young man couldn’t have placed himself in the bag and locked it. And even more bizarre that he then simply waited there to die, right?
A Very Unlikely “Official” Story
Rather unbelievably to many, the official story of the police would state that Williams was responsible for placing himself in the bag. Furthermore, it was also Williams who zipped and locked it shut.
No DNA was on the bag, nor was there any fingerprints – at least officially. Later reports would suggest that two separate prints were in the property – including on the bag – but there was “not enough” to register a match of any kind. As the years went by, the police would face accusations of atrocious levels of incompetence during the initial inspection of the potential crime-scene.
In short, it was investigator’s belief that Williams’ death was a stunt of some kind that had gone terribly wrong. Many found this explanation hard to believe, to say the least.
Further eyebrows were perhaps raised when it came to light that within hours of the discovery, a secret meeting had taken place between the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the Chief of Secret Intelligence Services, John Sawyer. According to the official response to the meeting, this was to “discuss how the investigation should proceed!” and to ensure that “officers would not stray beyond their remit!”
Foreign Secretary at the time, William Hague, fueled further suspicion when he signed public immunity clauses which would allow the withholding of information by intelligence services.
Of course, some believed this was not so much to protect national security, as to shield from the public the circumstances of Williams’ death.
Part of the immunity clauses signed by the aforementioned William Hague would include the option for the NSA and the FBI to have the right to refuse to testify in a court of law. Even legal representatives acting for Williams’ family would lose the right to even question such things in court.
That Williams was an intelligence employee would bring accusations and suspicions in its own right. He served as a GCHQ codebreaker, although speculation would run rife following his death regarding his “real” area of expertise.
Some suggested he was a double-agent working for both British and Russian intelligence – we will look at one particular claim of this kind a little later. Other claims would suggest that Williams had, intentionally or not, hacked into top secret US intelligence, making himself a target by doing so.
When “apparently leaked” information began to surface in the days following the discovery of Williams’ body, it would seem to some that there was an effort to alter public opinion about the intelligence worker and his bizarre and mysterious death.
Attempts Of Character Assassination?
In the days following the discovery of Williams’ body would come further revelations. Information would find its way into the mainstream newspapers regarding a sudden discovery of two iPhones belonging to Williams.
The first surfaced in Williams’ apartment and was completely empty and returned to factory settings. This action occurred in the days before the suspected time of Williams’ death. A second phone would come to light in Williams work locker. This time, the device was clean except for several pictures appearing to show Williams in ladies clothing.
Reports also suggested that women’s clothing was present in his apartment. Further suggestions would state that Williams’ search history including visits to bondage sites. In short, there was an underlying suggestion that Williams’ had a liking for sexual fantasies involving bondage. And ultimately his death was a result of this.
Just one of many people who did not buy into the apparent attempt to muddy Williams’ name was the coroner, Dr Fiona Wilcox. She would go out of her way to stress it was her belief that there was an effort “by some third party to manipulate a section of the evidence!” Furthermore, she believed the photographs and search engine data (which Wilcox asserted was a tiny percentage of the overall data) was nothing more than an attempt to have the public view the deceased in a bad light.
Further Findings By Dr Wilcox
If that was not damning enough, her final verdict on Williams’ death could not have been further from the version offered by New Scotland Yard. Wilcox would rule that Williams’ death was an unlawful killing. Furthermore, it is likely a third party had administered a short-acting poison to incapacitate Williams, before placing him in the bag and leaving him to suffocate to death. The fact the heating was up to full was further evidence that the perpetrators were intent on Williams’ body decomposing as quickly as possible.
Wilcox also discounted the assertion that Williams had died through misadventure, noting how he was a “scrupulous risk-assessor!” It was her belief that had he been attempting a challenge or stunt to release himself from the bag (as was the suggestion at one point), he would have utilized a back-up plan to do so in the event of things going wrong.
Although New Scotland Yard would conduct a second investigation off the back of Wilcox’ findings, they would ultimately disregard the points raised, and rule again his death to be accidental.
Check out the video below, one of the many news segments on the mysterious death.
Russian Spies and Double Agents
Perhaps of all the aspects of Williams’ life that raised doubts to the official story were his links to intelligence. And not only to British intelligence services but also to those of the Russians.
One story appeared in the tabloids that suggested his death was an assassination at the hands of the Russian intelligence services. The claim came courtesy of former KGB agent, Boris Karpickkov. He would state that his source confirmed that “the hit” on Williams was for refusing to spy for Russian intelligence. Furthermore, the source (a Russian agent) was still active (then) in British intelligence.
Karpickkov claimed the agent used the codename “Orion” and had approached Williams several weeks previously. The initial meeting would result in Williams being drugged. Incriminating photographs were then secured of him with an unknown third person while he was under such influence. The purpose was to use such photographs to blackmail him with. When Williams instead threatened to report Orion (and his true purpose) to his superiors, the murder went ahead.
While it is perhaps an account more fitting for an espionage movie script, it certainly leans more towards Dr Wilcox’ findings than the official story offered by the Metropolitan Police. In all likeliness, the death of Gareth Williams however, will remain a mystery to all but a very select few.
Check out the video below. It looks at the death of Gareth Williams in a little more detail.