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MI6 spy 'unhappy with London job'
An MI6 spy found dead in a sports bag had been unhappy living in London and complained about "friction" at the intelligence agency, an inquest has heard.
Gareth Williams, 31, hated the post-work drinking culture and "flash car competitions" at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), his sister said.
He was due to move back to the West Country a week after his naked body was discovered padlocked inside a holdall in the bath of his flat in Pimlico, central London, on August 23 2010.
The inquest into Mr Williams's mysterious death began with evidence that Scotland Yard murder detectives were not able to speak to his MI6 colleagues directly.
Instead specialist officers from the Metropolitan Police's SO15 counter-terrorism command had to carry out the interviews and produce anonymised statements.
Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, from the Met's homicide and serious crime command, said police were not shown any internal inquiry by SIS into what happened to the brilliant codebreaker.
But he stressed that MI6 co-operated fully with Scotland Yard, adding that he was not aware of MI5, MI6 or SO15 carrying out their own independent investigations into Mr Williams's death.
The spy's sister, Ceri Subbe, told the inquest her brother was excited when he began what was supposed to be a three-year secondment to MI6 from GCHQ, the Government listening station based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
But he missed the countryside and became disillusioned with the atmosphere at MI6's Vauxhall Cross headquarters in London.
"He disliked office culture, post-work drinks, flash car competitions and the rat race. He even spoke of friction in the office," Mrs Subbe said.
She added: "The job was not quite what he expected. He encountered more red tape than he was comfortable with."
In April 2010 he applied to return to GCHQ earlier than planned. MI6 "dragged their feet" in approving his request but eventually agreed he could go back to Cheltenham on September 1 2010.
Mr Williams, of Anglesey, North Wales, failed to turn up for a meeting at MI6 on August 16 2010, the inquest heard.
Mrs Subbe said she discussed her brother's absence with one of his colleagues.
She said: "He is very conscientious. The person I spoke to agreed, and said Gareth was like a Swiss clock - very punctual, very efficient, and it was very unlike him not to attend a meeting."
The discovery of the spy's body curled up in a large North Face holdall at his top floor flat in Alderney Street, Pimlico, sparked a painstaking investigation, worldwide media frenzy and several outlandish conspiracy theories.
Mrs Subbe was asked about £20,000 of women's clothes found in her brother's flat after his death, but said it was "not particularly" surprising and suggested they could have been a gift.
Paying tribute, she said he was "perfect" as a "big brother figure", adding: "It's impossible to do justice to Gareth's impressive character without meeting him."
She told the inquest she did not believe Mr Williams would let a potential killer in his upmarket London flat, adding: "I cannot emphasise enough his conscientiousness".
Four intelligence agents will give evidence to the inquest anonymously after Coroner Fiona Wilcox said there was a real risk of harm to national security and international relations if they were exposed.
Mr Williams was a keen cyclist, fell runner and mountaineer, and passionate about art, music and fashion, the inquest heard.
The mathematics prodigy was an "exceptional" academic who passed his O-levels aged 10, his A-levels a few years later, and studied at Bangor University when he was just 16.
His sister said he was "the most scrupulous risk-assessor" she had ever known.
She said he would turn back a few hundred yards from the summit of mountains if there was "the hint of adverse weather conditions", adding: "Better to be safe than sorry."
Mrs Subbe said her brother never told her he was being followed or felt threatened in any way, adding: "I cannot think as to why anybody would want to harm him."
Family members want to know why the alarm was not raised when Mr Williams initially failed to turn up to work.
By the time officers arrived at his flat, his body was so decomposed that evidence had been lost.
Dr Wilcox has indicated she may want to see a practical demonstration of how Mr Williams might have got into the bag and locked it himself.
The inquest was adjourned until Tuesday when Detective Chief Inspector Jackie Sebire, who led police inquiries, will give evidence.