SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 14, 2013

UK police: Spy in gym bag probably died by accident

LONDON — More than three years after the naked, decomposing body of British spy Gareth Williams was discovered stuffed inside a locked gym bag at the bottom of his bathtub, the mystery over his bizarre death lingers, and a police investigation has done little to clear it up.

London’s Metropolitan Police said Wednesday that their investigation had found that Williams likely died in an accident with no one else involved. But the tentative conclusion, which the police hedged by acknowledging many gaps haven’t been filled in, is unlikely to calm conspiracy theories surrounding the case.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt said Williams, whose remains were discovered in August 2010, was “most probably” killed in an accident, a verdict which conflicts with a coroner’s inquest that concluded last year that Williams was probably killed by another person in a “criminally meditated act.”

Hewitt said the police position “is that, on balance, it is a more probable conclusion that there was no other person present when Gareth died.”

“But the reality is that for both hypotheses, there exist evidential contradictions and gaps in our understanding,” he said.

Hewitt told reporters at Scotland Yard headquarters that his conclusion was based on the fact that investigators found little evidence of foul play in a death that has spawned a host of theories, from assassination to sexual adventure gone awry.

Williams, a cyberwarfare expert, worked for Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping service and was attached to the overseas espionage agency MI6 when he died.

Some have raised the possibility that Williams locked himself in the bag as part of a sex act gone wrong or an experiment in escapology — the Houdini-like art of wriggling out of restraints or traps. Investigators found that he had visited bondage and sadomasochism websites, including some related to claustrophilia — a desire for confinement in enclosed spaces.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Driscoll Gordon College flap nets local LGBT group $12K

    SALEM -- The conservative uproar over Mayor Kim Driscoll's decision to terminate Gordon College's contract to operate Old Town Hall has turned into a cash cow for a local group supporting gay and lesbian youths.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 140725_SN_DLE_HOUSE4 Middleton builder rescues First Period house in Danvers from demolition

    DANVERS -- Built before 1730, the First Period Benjamin Holten home at 52 Centre St. was a tear down that did not get torn down, the builder who preserved and restored the house said. "They had holes in the roof this big," said builder Michael Panzer

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tisei Tisei's political funds seek to balance Republican, LGBT loyalties BOSTON -- As Republican Richard Tisei makes a second run for Congress, he has teamed up with other GOP challengers across the country to broaden his support. Earlier this year, he created a joint fundraising committee, the Equality Leadership Fund, w

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Market Basket board to consider Arthur T.'s offer BOSTON -- Market Basket's board of directors announced Friday that it will consider offers to buy the company -- including one from ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. His offer will be considered "along with any other offers previously received and to be

    July 26, 2014

  • Police Peabody Thursday A woman went to the police department at 3:13 p.m. on a report of money owed for Girl Scout cookies. Noel Gabriel, 27, of 92 Marianna St., Lynn, was arrested from Lake Street around 5:51 p.m. on charges of driving without a license

    July 26, 2014