I have Mr. Robert Ludlum and his fictional character, Jason Bourne to thank for my curiosity in all things covert. So this story of the suspicious passing of a British Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) ‘cyberwarfare expert’ in London, England caught my eye.
Gareth Williams, a 31-year old Welsh mathematician was found dead in his London apartment on the 23rd of August, 2010. By that time his naked body had spent at least seven days decomposing inside a locked gym-bag that was found in the bathtub.
Mr. Williams, for all intents and purposes appears to have been a healthy, intelligent individual, if not really a ‘people person’. At the age of seventeen he graduated first-class from his Welsh secondary school, all the while taking part time university courses in mathematics. He had gained his PhD and was on track for post doctorate studies when the GCHQ approached him in 2001. After nine years with the service, he last worked as a ‘cyberwarfare expert’ with their overseas branch of MI6. Apparently he had found some notoriety in the organization if the presence at his funeral of the president of MI6 is any indication.
According to the myriad of press surrounding his death, when found, Mr. Williams’s apartment was filled with thousands of dollars worth of women’s clothing and a search of his personal electronic devices revealed an interest in claustrophobic sex. However these and other sordid stories of his life pale in the face of three facts:
1. Padlock on the sealed gym bag was locked from the outside
2. None of Mr. Williams DNA or fingerprints were found on the padlock or the lip of the gym bag
3. He worked for a clandestine spying operation
Not surprisingly I cannot find details of his work, but details of Mr. Williams passing have become, unfortunately for the SIS, MI6 and the London police, a media sensation. When his body was found and investigated by the London metro police, their initial findings, including the DNA results noted above, were that he had been killed and put into the bag, which was then locked from the outside. What is unfortunate for the metro police is that subsequent to their public release of the initial findings, they carried out a second review at the request of the government which resulted in them recanting on the initial story, instead saying that Mr. Williams had locked himself naked in the bag in order to get his jollies.
How then did Gareth Williams meet such an inappropriate end? According to the initial police reports, there was no sign of a struggle in the bathroom or within the bag itself and no trace of drugs or alcohol in his badly decomposed body. Yet on top of all of this evidence the British courts have found his death to be accidental. Was he about to become a whistle-blower? Did he upset some foreign government? Either of these two possibilities will get a person killed these days.
Thank you, Mr. Williams for your dedication to what ever causes you believed to be worthy; no matter if they might have changed after seeing what you did through the eyes of a spy.