MI6 agent found dead in holdall complained about 'friction at work'


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Gareth Williams, the MI6 officer who was found dead in a padlocked holdall in his bath, was so unhappy about "friction" at work and the "rat race" that he had asked for a transfer back to his previous role, his family has disclosed. The 31-year-old cipher specialist died a week before he had been due to return to work at GCHQ, the government listening post.

"He disliked office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race," his sister, Ceri Subbe, told the inquest into his death yesterday. "The job was not quite what he expected. He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with."

Mr Williams's family believes he may have been executed by secret agents specialising in the "dark arts", with a cover-up subsequently organised to ensure the that his killers did not face justice. Yesterday Ms Subbe insisted that it was inconceivable that her brother, pictured below, would have voluntarily allowed anyone who has not been cleared by the security agencies into his home in Pimlico, south-west London. "He was very strict about only allowing people who had been vetted to visit his flat," she said.

On 23 August 2010, Mr Williams's family contacted MI6 after not having heard from him for over a week.

On 16 August, he had failed to turn up to chair a meeting at MI6 and was not seen subsequently until the discovery of his naked and decomposing remains. Yet no alarm was raised by the service over an operative who was involved in sensitive work suddenly going missing.

The coroner, Fiona Wilcox, acknowledged that Mr Williams's death was "highly controversial" and has led to a "great deal of anxiety". Agents from MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service) and GCHQ will be giving their evidence in anonymity from behind a screen. There would be "a real risk of harm to national security and international relations" if some of those giving evidence were identified, she said. The inquest heard that Mr Williams was a prodigy who took his O-levels at the age of 10 and began a degree course at Bangor University aged 16.

PC John Gallagher, who found Mr Williams's body, said his attention was caught on entering the flat by a woman's wig hanging on a chair.