Matthew Leveson’s former partner Michael Atkins helping in search for body
The partner of missing Sydney man Matthew Leveson is assisting police in a search for a body at the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, police have confirmed.
Michael Atkins, 53, has been helping police with their inquiries since Friday after being compelled to give evidence at an inquest.
Mr Leveson, 20, was last seen outside Sydney nightclub ARQ with Mr Atkins on the night he disappeared.
His body has never been found.
In February 2012, a $100,000 reward was announced for information leading to the discovery of Mr Leveson’s body.
In 2009, Mr Atkins was acquitted of murdering his former partner after a trial during in which he exercised his right to silence.
This morning, he was due to resume giving evidence for a sixth day at an inquest in Sydney but the hearing was adjourned until 2:00pm.
It is believed homicide detectives have been negotiating with Mr Atkins and his lawyers since Friday.
Deputy state coroner Elaine Truscott compelled Mr Atkins to give evidence and granted him immunity from prosecution, which means any evidence he gives cannot be used against him in a criminal trial.
Police said detectives received information that led them to the Royal National Park this morning.
An extensive search is being conducted of the area and a crime scene has been established.
Police have cordoned off an area of bush about four kilometres from the Waterfall entrance to the Royal National Park.
At least four detectives are on site and a forensics van is parked on the side of the road.
A bushwalking track is inside the crime scene area.
Mr Leveson’s parents Faye and Mark Leveson spoke briefly outside Glebe Coroner’s Court.
“I’m sorry but for the time being, we just can’t talk to you. The police have asked me not to say anything at this stage, we’ve got to respect that,” Mr Leveson said.
“So please understand and be patient, when we can talk to you, we will, but for right now we just can’t say anything. So thank you all for your interest … it’s really appreciated.”
Atkins apologised to Mr Leveson’s parents during inquest
Matthew Leveson, 20, was last seen outside the Sydney nightclub ARQ in 2007. (Supplied: Faye Leveson)
During the inquest, Mr Atkins apologised to his missing partner’s parents “for their loss” while answering questions about Mr Leveson’s presumed death.
Mr Leveson’s parents stood with their arms wrapped around each other facing Mr Atkins as he gave evidence.
Counsel assisting the inquest Lester Fernandez asked Mr Atkins to address the Leveson family.
Mr Atkins told the family he was sorry for their loss but said he did not kill Mr Leveson.
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Michael Atkins tells police where he buried Matthew Leveson’s body
A MAN acquitted of murdering his young lover has told police where he buried the body.
Detectives have spent two days at the Royal National Park south of Sydney with electrician Michael Atkins as he has finally broken his silence on what happened to the body of Matt Leveson, 20, and has taken police to his possible grave sites.
Police have also requested help from the rescue squad to provide a drone to help search the rugged bushland.
The inquest into Matt’s disappearance in 2007, after he left a Sydney nightclub with Mr Atkins, has been adjourned today pending the shock development.
Matt’s family, Mark and Faye Leveson, were with their other two sons at Glebe Coroners Court today as they waited for the news they had hoped for — where their son’s body is so they can bring him home to bury him.
Mr Atkins was acquitted in 2009 by a jury of the murder and manslaughter of Matt, with whom he lived at Cronulla.
He was compelled to give evidence at the inquest but given immunity from prosecution if he told the truth at the inquest into what happened to Matt — but on Friday he admitted to having lied to the court about his police interview.
Matthew Leveson was last seen leaving ARQ nightclub at Surry Hills about 2am
Matthew Leveson, aged 20, reported missing by concerned relatives after he failed to arrive at work and could not be contacted.
Matthew Leveson’s car found by police at Waratah Oval in Sutherland.
Michael Atkins acquitted by a jury of Mr Leveson’s murder and manslaughter
A $100,000 reward was announced for information leading to the discovery of Matthew Leveson’s body.
Police have launched a search in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, in connection with an ongoing investigation into missing man Matthew Leveson.
It is understood that police used Mr Atkins confession to having lied as leverage to get him to confess to where Matt’s body is.
He had told police when he was interviewed after Matt’s disappearance, he claimed to have been asleep in the couple’s flat and woke up to find Matt missing but he was confronted with CCTV footage of him buying a mattock and duct tape at Taren Point Bunnings.
The receipt for the purchase with Mr Atkins fingerprint on it was found in Matt’s car which was discovered at Waratah Oval five days after he disappeared.
Mr Atkins had first told the inquest last week that he had told police the truth in the interview.
Then on Friday he admitted that he had lied to them because he was “scared” of them — and therefore lied to the inquest.
Matthew Leveson: Michael Atkins loses appeal, must give evidence at inquest into lover’s death
Updated 12 Oct 2016, 4:42pm
Michael Atkins, who was acquitted of murdering his lover Matthew Leveson, must give evidence at a coronial inquest into the younger man’s death in 2007, a NSW appeal judge has said.
Mr Atkins was the last person to see Mr Leveson alive,outside the Sydney nightclub Arq in September 2007.
Mr Leveson’s body has never been found.
Mr Atkins was later acquitted of murder and manslaughter.
He exercised his right to silence during his trial in 2009 and is expected to give evidence about the matter for the first time.
Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott ordered Mr Atkins to address the inquest, and he appealed against the order in the Supreme Court.
In dismissing his case, Justice Lucy McCallum said:
“The right to silence is, of course, important. But so is the coroner’s jurisdiction.”
Under an order given by the coroner, Mr Atkins’ evidence cannot be used against him in a criminal trial.
‘We just want to bring Matt home’
Mr Leveson’s mother, Faye Leveson, cried outside the Supreme Court and begged Atkins’ family to encourage him to reveal anything he knew.
“It’s our world, it’s our family” she said.
“How do you tell your other two boys, how do you tell them you can’t give them their brother back? It’s just not fair.”
Ms Leveson said she hoped the inquest would help the family locate her son’s remains.
“We just want to bring Matt home. That’s all we want,” she said.
Mr Atkins will give evidence at the coronial inquest at Glebe Coroner’s Court on October 31.
First posted 12 Oct 2016, 11:36am
Matt Leveson inquest: Witness tells of threesomes with Michael Atkins, the man acquitted of missing man’s murder
HIS arms around his young partner, this is Michael Atkins and Matt Leveson on their last night together.
It was taken at Darlinghurst’s Arq nightclub in September 2007 and just hours later Matt, 22, would be missing and Mr Atkins, 52, would later be charged and acquitted of his murder.
Their friend, given the pseudonym John Burns, has told the inquest into Matt’s death how he took this photograph at Arq either late on September 23 or early on September 24, 2007.
It has been tendered to the inquest at Glebe Coroners Court today.
Mr Burns told the inquest of his sexual threesomes with the couple.
He said he only had sex with his friend Matt Leveson, 20, and Matt’s partner Michael Atkins, 52, because he wanted to get closer to Mr Leveson.
Mr Burns is believed to be the last person to have spoken to Matt, albeit by text message, before he went “missing” after leaving Darlinghurst’s Arq Nightclub with Mr Atkins in the early hours of Sunday September 23, 2007.
Mr Atkins, who the inquest has heard lied to police about being at home later that Sunday when he was caught on CCTV buying a mattock and duct tape from Bunnings, was charged with Matt’s murder but acquitted by a jury in 2009.
Mr Leveson’s body has never been found.
Mr Atkins, now living in Brisbane, did not give evidence at his trial but he has been subpoenaed to give evidence at the inquest. He is sitting in a Sydney courtroom packed with Matt’s family and friends listening to the evidence of Mr Burns.
Mr Burns told the inquest that Mr Atkins used to “hit on” the young men at Arq by giving them free drugs — ecstasy and GHB.
He said the three men had sex together twice and after that, he noticed a difference in the relationship between Matt and Mr Atkins who had been living together in Mr Atkins’ Cronulla unit.
He said Matt did not appear to want to be around Mr Atkins as much and there was an “obvious distance” between them.
On the evening of September 22, 2007, he met up with Matt and Mr Atkins at Arq where Matt was his usual energetic, happy self, bouncing around to the music, he said.
The inquest has heard that Mr Atkins told police that he had take Matt home because he was sleepy but Mr Burns said Matt had told him he did not want to leave the nightclub.
In one of a series of text messages, Matt told Mr Burns that Mr Atkins was “taking me home and won’t let me stay!”
In another text, Matt said: “He needs to f***ing get over himself.”
Mr Burns told the inquest that Matt had earlier told him that Mr Atkins was very controlling and he had not been able to go out on his own since their relationship began.