First Picture Of Murdered MI6 Worker

Adam Arnold and Jo Couzens, Sky News Online

An MI6 worker whose body was found stuffed into a sports bag in a central London flat had been stabbed, Sky sources say.

Gareth Williams was discovered in the bathroom of the property in Pimlico, near the Secret Intelligence Service‘s headquarters.

Scotland Yard has launched a murder investigation into the incident at a top floor flat in Alderney Street, led by itsHomicide and Serious Crime Command.

The dead man was a communications officer who worked forGCHQ, the Government’s intelligence information arm.

Believed to be in his 30s, he was on secondment to MI6, whose headquarters is about half a mile from where the body was found on Monday afternoon.

Gareth Williams

Police believe the death of Gareth Williams is linked to his ‘personal life’

Detectives suspect the officer, who was reportedly due to return to GCHQ within days, could have been killed up to two weeks ago.

It is understood he had been stabbed several times and his body was decomposing when it was found.

Police think do not believe the killing is linked to terrorism and are working on the theory the death is connected to the victim’s personal life, sources say.

Sky’s Simon Newton, at the scene, said: "There are unconfirmed reports that there were some mobile phones and SIM cards laid out in the flat in a ritualistic fashion.

MI6 Building

The body was found at a flat across the river from the MI6 HQ

"And that the body was found in the bath. But both those things have not been confirmed yet by the Metropolitan Police."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the body has not yet been formally identified. A post-mortem examination is due to take place shortly.

Neighbour Laura Houghton, described the victim as "extremely friendly" and said he had a Welsh accent.

She told Sky News that police had knocked on her door on Monday evening, asking her if she had heard anything in the neighbouring flat but she had not.

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She added: "His windows were always shut and curtains were often closed. I could never tell if anyone was in.

"It was strange that we never saw him come and go. I just assumed he worked
away."

The victim is thought to have a doctorate in maths from Cambridge University and was believed to be a keen cyclist.

A landlady who rented him a flat in Cheltenham told the Daily Mail: "He was polite and mild-mannered and wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was forever off on bike rides but never really had friends around.

"Sometimes you could hear tapes whirring from his flat. It must have been audio cassettes he used for work. He never told me what they were."

When we hear MI6, we immediately think of James Bond, whereas the reality for most people involved in the intelligence services is somewhat more mundane.

Read blog by Sky’s Tim Marshall

Officers were called to the two-floor flat at around 4.40pm on Monday following reports from work colleagues the occupant had not been seen for some time.

They discovered the body in the bathroom and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cordons were placed around the property as officers examined the contents of the flat.

Alexander Litvinenko

Ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned in London

Scotland Yard says it is following up "several lines of inquiry".

Land Registry documents revealed the block at number 36 is owned by a private company, New Rodina.

Its details are hidden because it is registered in the British Virgin Islands and is not listed with Companies House.

The man’s death is the highest profile murder in the UK of someone linked to the secret services since that of Alexander Litvinenko.

The former KGB agent died in hospital after being poisoned by radioactive polonium-210 in 2006.

Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov was killed by an assassin who used an umbrella to fire a deadly ricin pellet into his leg as he walked across Waterloo Bridge in 1978.

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