Dead spy's family 'upset by private life claims'

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The Independent Online

The family of a murdered British spy were in a "state of shock" today as lurid claims emerged about his private life.

Scotland Yard detectives continued to investigate whether GCHQ codes expert Gareth Williams, 30, lived a secretive double life.

The mathematics genius, who was on secondment to MI6, was found dead in a sports holdall in the bath of his Government flat on Monday.

Investigators have begun picking through his private life amid claims he has been linked to a male escort and bondage equipment was found in his home.

Sources close to the investigation suggested these latest claims are not true, raising questions about where they came from.

Relative William Hughes, 62, a councillor on Anglesey, said there is no evidence the allegations are correct.

Mr Hughes, a cousin of Mr Williams's mother, Ellen, said: "I have spoken to Gareth's parents and they are not doing well at all.

"They are in a state of shock and struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

"They have seen what has been in the papers and they are very, very upset about these untruths. I don't see any evidence of it.

"It never crossed my mind that Gareth was that sort of person. He left home at a young age and what happened in his private life was his business.

"When you have these rumours in the papers, it is most distressing.

"It is heartbreaking that he has died so young and his family have enough on their plate without having to read these stories."

Mr Hughes added that it is possible the Government, or other agency, may be trying to discredit Mr Williams.

Police focused their investigations on Mr Williams's private life after his decomposing body was discovered when colleagues raised the alarm.

The mathematics prodigy was days from completing a one-year secondment to the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, in Vauxhall, London.

He was due to return to a rented flat in Cheltenham where Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, is based.

It is understood Mr Williams also worked for the United States National Security Agency and made regular trips to Washington DC and Fort Meade, near Baltimore.

The mystery over his final hours deepened after a post-mortem examination failed to identify a cause of death.

Further tests will determine if the cycling fanatic was asphyxiated or poisoned, as well as if drugs or alcohol were present in his system.

A pathologist found Mr Williams was not stabbed or shot and there were no obvious signs of strangulation.

Police refused to categorise the death as a murder, despite the bizarre circumstances, as they insist he may have died innocently.

One line of inquiry is that he is the victim of a sex game that went wrong and questions remain over why he was not discovered sooner.

Police believe Mr Williams's body could have lain undiscovered for up to a fortnight and are examining his mobile phone and financial records.

They suspect Mr Williams might have known his killer as there was no sign of forced entry at his top-floor flat in smart Alderney Street, Pimlico.

Friends described him as an extremely bright, quiet and determined man who did not discuss his private life.

Childhood friend Dylan Parry, 34, said Mr Williams was academically gifted but socially naive and could be easily-led.