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
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
The beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by ISIS militants brings into focus the risks faced by reporters in conflict zones.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1224 GMT (2024 HKT)
About $35,000 was taken from the bank accounts of four passengers on board Flight 370.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1732 GMT (0132 HKT)
The execution of a journalist by a British-accented jihadist is a direct challenge to the international community. It's time for the U.S. to move, writes Frida Ghitis.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0858 GMT (1658 HKT)
Summer isn't over yet. These new hotels are keeping it alive and fresh.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
You've seen her turn on the catwalk, but her income might make your head spin.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0904 GMT (1704 HKT)
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join the country's military.
Drinkers guzzled an incredible 10.3 billion liters of this brand in 2013, making it the world's No.1 beer. And you may have never heard of it.
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