Bushland search for Matthew Leveson, missing for nine years, ends

Matthew Leveson disappeared in 2007. Photo / Facebook
Matthew Leveson disappeared in 2007. Photo / Facebook

The heartbreaking bushland search for Matthew Leveson is over but his parents say their resolve to find their son has only been strengthened.

Detectives on yesterday ended their search for the 20-year-old's remains in bushland in the Royal National Park, south of Sydney, after spending more than a week scouring the area.

They had been led to the scrubby patch of land near Waterfall in southern Sydney by Leveson's former boyfriend Michael Atkins, whose hopes of avoiding prosecution for perjury and contempt of court had rested on police finding the body.

The Queensland man was acquitted of Leveson's murder in 2009.

Michael Atkins, Matthew's former lover, was acquitted of his murder in 2009.
Michael Atkins, Matthew's former lover, was acquitted of his murder in 2009.

Crime scene tape was stripped away from the search site yesterday afternoon, but a floral tribute to Leveson remained, along with a sign that read "forever in our hearts".

Investigators stressed they were not walking away from the broader search for Leveson, while the young man's parents had a stark message for the man they believe killed him.

"We're now even more determined to find Matt," his father Mark Leveson said.

"So Atkins, look over your shoulder."

In the nine years since Matt Leveson's disappearance, Atkins had given no indication he knew whether the missing man was dead or where his remains could be found.

Mark and Faye Leveson have fought for years for the truth of what happened to their son.
Mark and Faye Leveson have fought for years for the truth of what happened to their son.

Even though he told an inquest this month he did not kill his boyfriend, Atkins led detectives to the potential burial site after striking a deal with Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton.

The deal gave Atkins immunity from prosecution for perjury and contempt of court on the evidence he gave at the inquest on condition Leveson's body was found.

Upton declined to comment yesterday after the search was called off.

The coronial inquiry into Matthew Leveson's disappearance will resume next year.

- AAP

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