A Russian defector has claimed that the MI6 spy who was found dead in a padlocked holdall in his bath in Pimlico was “exterminated” by Russian intelligence agents because he refused to become a double agent and knew the identity of a Kremlin spy working inside GCHQ.
Codebreaker Gareth Williams was found dead at his home in 2010. He had been a cipher expert at GCHQ but was on secondment to MI6 when he died.
According to the coroner at the subsequent inquest, his death was likely a “criminally mediated” unlawful killing, though it was “unlikely” to be satisfactorily explained. Police investigating Williams’ death suggested he had died as the result of a sex game gone wrong.
But a defector, Boris Karpichkov, speaking to the Daily Mirror, claims intelligence sources in Russia have admitted the MI6 spy was killed by the SVR, the current incarnation of the country’s espionage agency which was formerly known as the KGB.
It is suggested the SVR attempted to recruit Williams as a double agent, allegedly using details from the British cypher’s private life as leverage.
Police disclosed at the time of Williams’ death that he owned £15,000 worth of women’s designer clothing, a wig and make up. It had been suggested that Williams dressed as a woman outside of work, though a forensics expert has since said they believe the spy likely worked undercover as a woman.
The SVR allegedly threatened to reveal the Briton enjoyed cross-dressing, before Williams in turn revealed he knew the identity of the person who had “tipped the Russians off” about him.
“The SVR then had no alternative but to exterminate him in order to protect their agent inside GCHQ,” Karpichkov alleges.
Karpichkov, who also lives in the Pimlico area, said he had seen Russian diplomatic cars in the area around the time of Williams’ death but had believed they had been sent to monitor himself. He claims to have not seen the cars since Williams died.
Karpichkov has also claimed that Williams was killed by an untraceable poison which was pushed into his ear using a needleless syringe.
At the time of the inquiry the coroner said that the involvement of intelligence services in Williams’ death remained a “legitimate line of inquiry” but stressed “there was no evidence to support that he died at the hands” of a government agency.
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