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Atkins bought tools for garden: court

AAP logoAAP 31/10/2016 Toby Mann

A man acquitted of the murder of his young boyfriend says he bought tools and tape on the day his lover disappeared to build a vegetable garden at their unit.

Michael Atkins, then 44, left Darlinghurst's ARQ nightclub with his boyfriend Matthew Leveson, 20, in the early hours of September 23, 2007 and, at 11.45am that day, bought a mattock and duct tape.

"I always a wanted a garden," Mr Atkins told a coronial inquest on Tuesday, adding he was an enthusiast who had germinated 30-40cm-long zucchini and tomato seedlings on the balcony of his unit.

Mr Leveson's body has never been found and Mr Atkins was acquitted of his murder in 2009.

Counsel assisting Lester Fernandez had earlier told the inquest a hardware shop receipt for the tools and tape carried Mr Atkins' DNA and was found inside Mr Leveson's abandoned car.

After earlier claiming he had driven Mr Leveson to their Cronulla unit immediately after they left the club at 2.11am, Mr Atkins admitted he stayed in the area around the club for 55 minutes, possibly to find drugs.

Mr Atkins, who had unsuccessfully resisted attempts to have him answer questions at the inquest, said he had driven Mr Leveson home as his boyfriend had taken so many drugs he was pulling faces.

"(I wanted to) take him home and look after him, give him water and what you do," Mr Atkins said.

But after being played CCTV and being told five witnesses, including two police, had identified him outside ARQ at 3.06 am, Mr Atkins accepted he had remained in the vicinity in that period.

He said he cannot remember what happened between 2.11am and 3.06am, but may have gone to fetch drugs to sell to a friend, he said.

"I don't remember that gap in time," Mr Atkins said.

Texts sent from Mr Atkins to Mr Leveson at 2.12am and 2.15am were revealed at the inquest on Tuesday.

"Where are you? I said sorry three times," Mr Atkins wrote.

"I need more jollies. I sold out and owe (a friend) two. I'm near the cloak room."

The inquest heard Mr Atkins and Mr Leveson sometimes referred to drugs as "jollies".

But when he was asked repeatedly about why he had thrice apologised, he wasn't able to give a reason.

Not long later, Mr Leveson sent a friend a text message, indicating the pair were still arguing over the nightclub departure.

"Mike's having a f***ing cry. He's taking me home and won't let me stay! F***ing c***!," the 3.20am text read.

Mr Atkins said Mr Leveson was alive when they arrived home, having driven straight there from the club.

He told Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott Mr Leveson went straight into the unit and played some music and went to bed.

The inquest continues with Mr Atkins expected to answer more questions on Wednesday.

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