Police reject rumours surrounding MI6 man found dead in flat

Police took the unusual decision yesterday to step in and deny increasingly lurid reports about the private life of the murdered GCHQ officer Gareth Williams.

Scotland Yard sources said that reports of bondage equipment found at his flat and a "ritualistic" arrangement of his possessions were untrue. A spokesman later added that the detective team investigating the death, had clarified the accuracy of the reports "out of respect" for Mr Williams' relatives.

Mr William's body was found stuffed into a holdall in the bathroom on his home in Pimlico, central London, last week. Since the discovery suggestions regarding Mr Williams' private life and sexual tendencies have been rife.

Reports included the suggestion that the 30-year-old was, variously, a male escort or a transvestite; that bondage equipment had been found at his flat; and that a dozen mobile phone SIM cards had been laid out in a ritualistic manner in his home.

His family said they feared there was a smear campaign. Mr Williams' uncle told newspapers: "The family are concerned it may have been an attempt to put false, unkind details about Gareth's private life into the public domain to diminish him and take attention away from the security services he worked so loyally for."

All police have previously confirmed is that they are investigating a "suspicious death" – preferring that term to murder – and that the last known sighting of Mr Williams was in London on Sunday 15 August, eight days before his body was found. Initial reports said he had not been seen for a fortnight.

His body was discovered when police were called to check on him after a colleague voiced concerns.

Those scant details aside, little is known about precisely when, why or how Mr Williams died. As is usual in such cases, police have not confirmed any potential motive they are investigating. Early speculation suggested that Mr Williams' job may have been the reason for his death. But latterly, the focus has shone more on his personal life. Last week a pathologist was unable to establish a cause of death. Toxicology tests will determine if he was poisoned, or if drugs or alcohol were a factor. But the report suggested he was not stabbed.

On Saturday night Channel 4 News claimed that the initial police report had stated that Mr Williams' death was a "neat job", suggesting that he was killed by someone who knew what they were doing.

There are also suggestions that Scotland Yard detectives have become frustrated with the interference of colleagues in the intelligence agencies who are not used to their own organisations or employees being the subject of investigations. Police are also said to be investigating payments and withdrawals of thousands of pounds into and out of Mr Williams' bank account in the days leading up to his death.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?