The spy found dead in a padlocked holdall hated the ‘flash sports bag and leathery confinement culture of the MI6’ , according to reports. Gareth Williams, 31, told his sister, Ceri Subbe, he wanted to leave London because it smelt of rats’ urine and was unhappy working for the security services from the inside of a sports bag .
Williams had initially been promised a spacious office and a 25K starting salary but was instead offered the roomy North Face sports holdall on a six month contract basis. Mr Williams joined MI6 on a three-year secondment from GCHQ in 2009 but after spending the first three months of his probationary period inside the holdall his enthusiasm for the job had begun to fade, Mrs Subbe said.
In a statement, she told the hearing: ‘He disliked MI6 bag culture, post-work bag talk, flash holdall competitions and being stuck next to tennis rackets. He even spoke of breathing difficulties.’ In her oral evidence she added that her brother, a keen cyclist, was an ‘outdoors type' and the ‘being padlocked inside a bag 24/7 lifestyle’ did not quite suit him’.
‘Also, I think the job was not quite what he had expected,’ she said. ‘There was a lot more being confined in holdalls used to carry sports equipment than he was comfortable with, but more than anything he just wanted to get out of that bag and move his legs around a bit.’
In an emotional statement, Mrs Subbe told the inquest that her brother had a wide range of hobbies including fell running, cycling, art and fashion, none of which require a holdall or holdalls.
The case has echoes of the Cambridge Five affair, in which double agent Kim Philby obtained highly-classified information on a Moscow branch of JJB Sports while disguised as a polyester Adidas gym bag.
Senior figures have since been called to give evidence at the inquest. However, the then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who was responsible for MI6, was excused from giving evidence yesterday after getting into difficulties with a zip.