But the plot to use the photographs for blackmail was unsuccessful, according to Mr Karpichkov, as Mr Williams told Lukas he would expose Orion as a double agent if they persisted with the threat.
But the wine had been spiked with drugs and shortly after he lost consciousness, he was injected inside the ear with a poison mixed with plant extracts and a chemical called diphenhydramine, a fatal compound which breaks down quickly and is difficult to detect. Mr Karpichkov served in Russian intelligence for more than a decade, reaching the rank of KGB major where he was privy to Kremlin secrets at the highest level.
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Accessibility links Skip to article Skip to navigation. Friday 29 November Follow telegraphnews. Top news galleries. The obvious possibility was Williams had been killed by professionals in connection with his top secret work for MI6. But were they enemy agents or his own side? And why had the murder, if it was murder, been staged in such a bizarre fashion?
Gareth Williams: The Spy in the Bag | The Unredacted
For detectives, they were facing a crime straight out of the pages of a Sherlock Holmes story. Unfortunately, during the course of the subsequent investigation, the security services would consistently thwart attempts by the metropolitan police to properly investigate the crime.
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MI6's role in the case became subject to even greater scrutiny when it was discovered that Williams had been missing for more than a week before anybody at his employers reported his absence. Could MI6 really be so grossly negligent or did they have something more sinister to hide? Their evidence to the inquest, given in secret, was widely regarding as unconvincing. But for the coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox, the central issue was still whether Gareth Williams could have locked himself in the bag from the inside.
Employing experts in confined spaces, hundreds of attempts to replicate the feat were made without success.
As a result, the metropolitan police reopened the case and spent more than a year re-examining the evidence. Lingering questions remain unanswered, including the most important of all. Likewise, no fingerprints or DNA was found on the zipper or the padlock, which Williams would have had to vigorously manipulate in order to lock himself in the bag, and he was not wearing gloves.
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When the police arrived at the flat, they were surprised to discover the heating was in at the maximum setting, despite the fact Williams had died during the middle of a warm summer. The excessive heat hastened the decomposition of the body, meaning pathologists were unable to determine the cause of death.
Some of the detectives at the scene felt this was another attempt by an unknown third party to destroy evidence, a suspicion also echoed by the coroner.
One further troubling piece of evidence seemed to confirm the crime scene had been cleaned up. So much of this most baffling of cases revolves around the issue of whether Gareth Williams could really have locked himself in the sports bag from the inside. To this end, numerous reconstructions were attempted, supervised by two experts in confined spaces, William Mackay and Peter Faulding.
Neither were able to replicate the feat.
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Shortly after the inquest, army sergeant Jim Fetherstonhaugh came forward to claim he had have achieved what had defied the experts. Using a trick employed by airport thieves to steal from locked bags, Fetherstonhaugh was able to successfully demonstrate the technique with his daughter standing in for Williams.
However, Mackay dismissed the new evidence.
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Perhaps a more prosaic reason to doubt the accident theory is the lack of any signs of a struggle. If Williams had locked himself into the bag as part of a sex game and then found himself trapped, why had he made no attempt to free himself? It has been speculated that his work involved terrorist communications and cyber-warfare. On Monday 16th August, a week before his body was found, he was due to chair a meeting with his MI6 colleagues at their headquarters in Vauxhall Cross in London.
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Astonishingly, nobody at MI6 reported him missing. Even then, MI6 did nothing. Had he been captured and killed by foreign agents? It would not be the first time foreign intelligence services had murdered someone in the UK capital.