Skip to main content

MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams' death 'perfect crime,' expert says

By Erin McLaughlin and Susannah Cullinane, CNN
November 21, 2013 -- Updated 1949 GMT (0349 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams' body was found locked in a bag in 2010
  • A coroner's inquest into his death concluded it was likely that someone had killed him
  • But Scotland Yard said it was most likely no one else was involved in Williams' death
  • Confined spaces expert Peter Faulding believes Williams was murdered in a "'perfect crime"

(CNN) -- The death of MI6 codebreaker Gareth Williams -- whose naked body was found inside an externally locked bag in his bathtub in 2010 -- was a "perfect crime," a confined spaces expert says.

Peter Faulding said he disagreed with Scotland Yard's conclusion that Williams most likely locked himself in the bag, saying it was his belief that the MI6 worker was murdered.

Last week, London's Metropolitan Police said its three-year investigation had found a lack of evidence to show that someone else had been involved in Williams' death. The police position differs from a 2012 coroner's report, which said it was likely he had been killed.

Read more: MI6 codebreaker not killed, police say

Faulding testified at the Coroner's inquest and did not definitively rule out that Williams could have somehow locked himself into the bag alone. But he said he could not have done so without leaving evidence.

This week Faulding told CNN he was still of that view, using the same model of bag and a similar type of bathtub to show how Williams could have gotten into the bag and why he held the view that someone else was involved.

Police rule in British spy's death
Mystery of a spy found stuffed in a bag

"There was no DNA found on the padlock, the zipper closures -- anywhere around this bath," he said. "To do this without leaving a trace is absolutely impossible. Even Houdini couldn't do this."

Faulding said the lack of DNA was "the key to this crime."

"We can zip ourselves in the bag ... but you can't do it without leaving a trace."

Faulding said a scuff mark was found on the bath, and it was his belief that Williams was murdered.

"The bag was lifted. It scuffed the top and he was dropped into the bath," he said.

With the heating in Williams' apartment turned up, Faulding said "the decomposition fluids would actually run down the plughole, and it would stop the smell of decomposition escaping the flat."

He concluded: "This was the perfect crime."

Read more: Coroner says spy likely poisoned, suffocated

The Met last week acknowledged that some of the evidence -- including the lack of DNA on the padlock or hand prints on the bath -- was "odd."

It said there was insufficient evidence to be definitive on how Williams died but that police believed that theirs was the "more probable" conclusion.

The case gripped the British public when Williams was found dead at age 31 in August 2010.

Among the theories aired by UK media were that Williams might have died at the hands of foreign intelligence agents or as a result of a kinky sexual encounter gone wrong.

While the circumstances of Williams' death remain somewhat murky, there is still forensic evidence left to examine. More than 10 samples of DNA found in Williams' apartment were too small to test.

Police say that maybe, one day, technology may help solve the mystery.

Read more: Mysterious spy death grips Britain

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT