On a chilly March day, members of Liphook u3a were assembled to hear an even more chilling story which was entitled The Body in the Bag. 

The story was made chillier still because it was absolutely true and happened only 13 years ago and on British soil.

Paul Barwick told us the story which occurred while he was a police officer in the Met and involved a very clever young man called Gareth Wyn Williams, who worked at GCHQ for some years before taking up a post with MI6 at the headquarters on the Thames. 

Gareth was born and brought up in Holyhead on Anglesey and was a precocious child who went through the educational system quickly, passing state exams far younger than was normal and graduating with a doctorate at the age when most children would have taken their A-levels.

His work was top secret and he did well at it. MI6 found him an apartment in Pimlico to use for the year that he was to work in London and he kept in regular contact with his family in Wales until August 2010, when his parents didn’t hear from him for over a week. 

They contacted the police and on a warm day two officers went to make enquiries where they found the flat locked. 

On opening it they found the heating was on high and there was an unpleasant odour of decomposition coming from the bathroom where there was a sports bag, zipped and locked with the key to the lock being inside the bag. 

Also in the bag was the decaying body of Gareth with no sign of what may have caused his death.

There was no evidence found in the flat including a lack of fingerprints or DNA and his computer and phone had been reset to factory settings.

As far as is known there hasn’t been any official conclusion to the conundrum and a narrative version was given by the coroner. 

Paul gave us various solutions to ponder but they left us with more questions than answers despite his clear telling of the case and his many useful pictures from the time. 

We felt we’d listened to a very thought-provoking presentation and the chat during the social break over tea and biscuits proved how much the members had appreciated what they’d heard.

April’s meeting seems to have another intriguing title as Coryne Hall will give a talk on the Romanovs from her perspective of an author of many books on the family. 

Liphook u3a welcomes new members and all are invited to join them on the first Monday of the month at 2pm in the Liphook Millennium centre. The next meeting will be on April 3. More information can be found from [email protected]

Gwenda Pate