Major breakthrough in ‘spy in the bag’ case in which man found dead in padlocked holdall | UK | News

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Major breakthrough in ‘spy in the bag’ case in which man found dead in padlocked holdall | UK | News

Scotland Yard has announced it has made a major breakthrough in the investigation into the death of spy Gareth Williams following a forensic review.

Police have now discovered MI6 operative Williams was likely alone when he died in August 2010, when his naked body was found in a North Face bag.

His death prompted theories including that he was the victim of a Russian hitman, a hostile foreign intelligence agency or had been involved in a sex game that went wrong.

Officers recently ordered new laboratory tests to be carried out on key items found at the scene of his death in the government-owned flat in Pimlico, central London, half a mile from MI6’s headquarters.

Detectives identified the DNA found on a green towel in a kitchen cupboard in the flat using modern forensic techniques with the item described by investigators as a “significant find”. It belonged to Williams rather than a third party.

Other items found in the flat which were considered for retesting included the holdall, its zip toggle and the padlock and its key, with no footprints or fingerprints other than Williams’ found in and around the bath in which the bag was found.

The padlock’s key was found inside the bag.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime command, which has been reassessing the evidence for the past two years said: “In February 2021, a forensic assessment was undertaken, which was also peer-reviewed by a forensic manager in respect of all exhibits seized during this investigation.

« This resulted in a resubmission of exhibits to the forensic laboratory and additional examinations being sought.”

Findings of the review were returned to the Met in November 2023 and “no new DNA” had been found. It means Williams was likely alone when he died, Met sources told the Sunday Times.

The Williams family has been informed of the review’s outcome, with a Met source telling the same paper that, at the time of his death, Williams was working as technical support for a highly sensitive MI6 field operation, which involved gathering intelligence from the London embassies of hostile nations.

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