Saturday 25 February 2017

Lover may have killed spy

Detectives probe jealousy motive as body of MI6 man found in sports bag

Gordon Rayner in London

A murdered British spy whose body was found stuffed into a sports bag at his London flat might have been killed by a jealous lover, police believe.

Gareth Williams (31) had been working for MI6 on a one-year posting but was due to return to his regular job at the UK government's listening station in Cheltenham.

Detectives believe Mr Williams, whose body lay undiscovered for up to two weeks in the bathroom of his top-floor flat, might have had a row with a lover over his decision to return to Gloucestershire.

But police have not ruled out the possibility that the murder could be linked to his secret intelligence work.

Nick Clegg, Britain's deputy prime minister, was given updates on the investigation as part of a scheduled intelligence briefing yesterday.

Officers were yesterday examining Mr Williams's mobile phone, found on a table with several sim cards laid out beside it, to find out who he had last been in contact with, and when.

They were also studying CCTV images from cameras near the Georgian townhouse where Mr Williams lived alone.

There was no sign of forced entry at the flat in Pimlico, suggesting the killer was someone Mr Williams knew, and nothing had been stolen.

Mr Williams's parents, Ellen and Ian, from Valley, Anglesey, in north Wales flew back to Britain from a foreign holiday to identify their son's body after being told of his death on Monday, the day his body was found.

The spy's uncle, William Hughes, said: "It was a terrible shock when we had the phone call. I couldn't believe such a thing could happen."

Mr Hughes said the family had been given no clues as to the motive for the murder, adding that Mr Williams was "quiet and unassuming" and never talked about his job.

Mr Williams was a maths graduate who began a masters in advanced mathematics at St Catherine's College, Cambridge, in 2000, but failed an exam the following year and dropped out.

He immediately began working at Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, in Cheltenham, where he rented a room for nine years from Jennifer Elliott.

Mrs Elliott (71) said: "He was just a lovely guy. I can't believe he isn't coming back to me."

"Occasionally you could hear tapes whirring from his flat, which must have been audio cassettes he used for work, but he never told me what they were." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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