Far be it from me to fly in the face of the conspiracy theorists, but I think Scotland Yard have got it right about the so-called “Spy in a Bag”.
To recap: in 2010 an MI6 spook called Gareth Williams was found asphyxiated in a zipped up sports holdall in a London flat. This immediately led to claims that he had been offed by the KGB, the CIA, Mossad, SMERSH or any combination of rival spy agencies. There was talk of missing microchips, stolen computer data and evil geniuses living in hollowed-out volcanoes.
In fact the evidence pointed to an even more sensational explanation – namely, Williams, 31, was a bit of a weirdo who enjoyed zipping himself in sports holdalls for sexual gratification. Police found £20,000 of women’s clothing and wigs in his wardrobe, and uncovered visits to bondage websites in his internet browsing history.
But how did he zip himself in the bag? the conspiracy theorists demanded. In a bizarre development at the inquest, a retired soldier proved how it was perfectly possible to climb into an identical bag and zip it from the inside, leading to all manner of intrepid news reporters trying it out for themselves.
Nevertheless last year a coroner found that Williams’ death was unlawful and likely to have been “criminally meditated”.
Now, following a second exhaustive inquiry, the Yard’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner has announced that in his view the “more probable conclusion [is] that there was no other person present when Gareth died”.
The conspiracy theory will rumble on, of course. But at the end of the day it all depends on whether you accept that some people will go to extraordinary lengths to get their kicks.
Until the sad death of MP Stephen Milligan in 1994, for example, I would never in a million years have imagined anybody would seriously want to unwind by dressing up in stockings, inserting an orange segment in their mouth and putting a bin liner on their head.
And as for disgraced MP Mark Oaten…well, I shall never look at glass coffee tables in the same light again.
The truth is there’s nowt as queer as folk, especially in the privacy of their own homes. Only when they die do the rest of us discover what really goes on behind closed doors.