Although police were still awaiting the results of forensic tests, Matthew’s grieving parents were allowed to take the tree home from the site in honour of their son’s memory.
Taking to Twitter to thank all those who had helped in the lengthy search for their son, Mark Leveson posted a picture of himself and wife Faye raising a glass to everyone who had helped them bring Matthew home.
‘Crime scene complete. Coming home with “Matt’s” palm & raising a glass to ALL those involved in bringing Matt home. Xx,’ Mark wrote.
A second picture was also attached to the tweet, showing Mark and Faye standing in front of a ute, with a palm loaded onto the back.
Just hours later, Mark posted a picture of the plam in its new location: the Leveson’s back garden.
Matthew Leveson, then aged 20, was last seen leaving ARQ nightclub in Darlinghurst in 2007 with his then-boyfriend Michael Atkins, who was tried and acquitted of his murder and manslaughter 2009.
Atkins, who now lives in Queensland, admitted that he lied on the stand during Leveson's inquest, but led police to the burial site in exchange for a deal that granted him immunity from prosecution for perjury.
In a cruel twist, whilst Matthew's body has been recovered double jeopardy laws mean that Atkins is unlikely to be prosecuted for murder a second time, unless "fresh and compelling evidence" is uncovered linking him to the alleged crime.
This article was first published on New Idea.