Leveson memorial vandalised day before funeral
THE memorial site of Sydney man Matthew Leveson has been found vandalised on the eve of his funeral.
The late 20-year-old's father Mark Leveson, who has been waiting more than a decade to be able to bury his son, said he was "absolutely devastated" at the discovery.
"The night before Matty's funeral we visited his memorial tree in the National Park to find it vandalised," he wrote on Twitter with a picture of the bare tree. "Butterflies taken, gifts taken, memorial plaques taken, fresh flowers taken. Nothing is left!"
Matthew's mother Faye Leveson also commented.
"My heart is broken. How could someone do this on the eve of Matt's funeral?" she tweeted.
Absolutely devastated. The night before Matty’s funeral we visited his memorial tree in the National Park to find it vandalised. Butterflies taken, gifts taken, memorial plaques taken, fresh flowers taken. Nothing is left! @RoyalNatPark pic.twitter.com/4F92YOgeCN— Mark Leveson (@MarkLeveson) March 8, 2018
Matthew disappeared after being seen leaving the ARQ nightclub in Darlinghurst, Sydney during the early hours of September 23, 2007.
His former boyfriend Michael Atkins was the last known person to see him alive. He was charged with murder in 2008, but acquitted in 2009.
Atkins had claimed that Matthew was alive and possibly living in Thailand.
However, he then led police to Matthew's skeletal remains in an unmarked grave in the Royal National Park in May 2017. Atkins told police he did not kill Matthew, but panicked and buried the body after he died of a drug overdose.
Matthew's remains were found beneath a cabbage-tree palm, which the Levesons took and planted it in their backyard.
But at the scene where the remains were buried, Royal National Park workers helped to plant trees and create a memorial site for Matthew, with one tree especially decorated.
The picture of the bare trunk shared by Mr Leveson is a depressing contrast to one he shared of the same tree dotted with pictures of Matthew, gifts and flowers.
The Leveson family will finally lay Matthew to rest in a funeral service in Sydney on Friday.
The family has request attendees wear bright colours or a splash of Matthew's favourite colour, purple, to farewell him.