The private life of Gareth Williams, the British MI6 operative found dead in his Pimlico apartment in London this week, is currently being investigated by detectives who are attempting to discover whether he was murdered by a male lover.

Mr Williams’ body was found on Monday inside a bag which had been placed in his bathtub at his home. Police believe he may have lain undiscovered for a fortnight.

Mr Williams was on a year-long posting to MI6 and was set to return to his regular job at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) listening station in Cheltenham at the beginning of September.

According to the Sun, the 31-year-old was a regular face around the capital’s popular gay neighbourhoods of Vauxhall Cross, where the MI6 headquarters are also based, and Soho in the West End.

Now detectives have reportedly said they believe he might have had a violent row with a lover over his decision to return to GCHQ. They also said they hadn’t ruled out the possibility that the Mr Williams’ murder could be linked to his secret intelligence work.

Security services fear that his murderer could have taken classified material, possibly stored on a laptop.

There was no sign of a break-in at Mr Williams’ apartment and nothing had been stolen. His mobile phone was however found, accompanied by several SIM cards.

Detectives are now studying whether Mr Williams’ death was the result of strangulation, asphyxiation or drugs.