Mystery Couple Sought in U.K. Cyberspy's Bizarre Death
A naked corpse padlocked inside a duffel bag. Allegations of cross-dressing and bondage. Secret work cracking coded Al Qaeda e-mails for British and American spy agencies. And an unnamed couple with movie-star looks who may hold the key to a murder mystery.
The saga of Gareth Williams, a 31-year-old math whiz who was found dead and naked in his apartment bathtub this past August, already had all the elements to excite the hungry London tabloids.
Now the British authorities are circulating computer-generated images of a Mediterranean-looking couple whom a neighbor let into Williams' apartment building about six weeks before he was found dead Aug. 23.
The neighbor said the couple said they had keys to Williams' apartment, which was rented by a front company for the British government, and that they were visiting a man called Pier Paolo.
The London papers have speculated that may be a reference to Pier Paolo Pasolini, a gay Communist Italian film director who made controversial and sexually explicit movies before he died after being run over several times with his own car in 1975.
Police have linked Williams to London's bondage and cross-dressing underworld, and he accessed several bondage websites shortly before he died, a week before his body was found.
Williams worked for Britain's General Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), analogous to the U.S. National Security Agenc y (NSA), and was on loan to MI6, the British foreign intelligence agency.
He apparently traveled to the U.S. several times a year to liaise with the NSA, and had allegedly worked on deciphering worldwide Al Qaeda Internet communications.
The cause of death has not been determined, but medical examiners say he would have suffocated after 30 minutes inside the duffel bag, which he could not have locked from the inside.
Williams' funeral was attended by the head of MI6.