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Spy chief's 'regret' about absentee
An MI6 boss has expressed regret for failing to raise the alarm that Gareth Williams was missing.
The line manager said he wrongly assumed Mr Williams was stuck on a train when he missed a meeting seven days before his rotting remains were found.
Coroner Fiona Wilcox asked him why he took no action, saying: "There's a difference between being late and failing to turn up to a meeting at 3pm."
The secret services boss, who gave evidence behind a 10ft blue screen to protect his identity, replied: "In hindsight, knowing what I know now, should I have taken action? Absolutely.
"I was just working on the conclusion that Gareth was late on a train, stuck on transport."
MI6 colleagues assumed for several days that he might have been packing ahead of his return from secondment to GCHQ or working on coursework.
Dr Wilcox added: "I am really struggling to understand why you took no action at this point."
The spy, identified only as G, said: "I still had that gut feeling that he was away doing something that I was not made aware of."
Mr Williams had only recently returned from Las Vegas on a trip relating to his "wind-down" from duties and G said Mr Williams wanted to leave MI6 because he was getting bogged down in bureaucracy.
He had never failed to turn up for work before his disappearance in August 2010.