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'Spy killed up to two weeks ago'

Detectives investigating the death of a British spy suspect he could have been killed up to two weeks ago.

The body of the man, in his 30s, was found stuffed into a large sports holdall in the bath of his central London flat.

Officers discovered his mobile phone and several SIM cards laid out nearby when they broke into the top-floor flat in Alderney Street, Pimlico.

The alarm was raised by colleagues who contacted the authorities on Monday when they had not seen him for "some time".

It is understood the man was employed as a communications officer at the GCHQ "listening post" in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. But he is believed to have been on secondment to the riverside headquarters at MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, about half a mile from the flat.

Public documents revealed several current and former residents of the freehold block have links to London and Cheltenham.

Police continue to scour the two-floor flat for evidence and cordons remain in place on the prestigious street where two former home secretaries live - ex-Tory leader Michael Howard and Sir Leon Brittan are among a host of politicians and bankers who have homes there, residents said.

Scotland Yard has launched a murder investigation, led by detectives from its Homicide and Serious Crime Command wing.

A spokesman said the body was yet to be formally identified and a post-mortem examination would take place. He said investigators were following up "several lines of inquiry" but declined to confirm the occupation of the dead man.

It is understood the man had been stabbed, possibly several times, and his body was decomposing when it was found.

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