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The truth would make me look bad: Atkins

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Toby Mann

A man who bought a digging tool on the day his young boyfriend vanished says he lied about buying it, worrying police would think he'd "done something with Matt".

"I was thinking it was going to look bad," Michael Atkins said during his fourth day of tough questioning at a coronial inquest into the death of 20-year-old Matthew Leveson.

Mr Leveson has not been seen since he left Darlinghurst's ARQ nightclub in Sydney in the early hours of September 23, 2007, with boyfriend Michael Atkins.

Mr Atkins, who said he is a gardening enthusiast, told the inquest he bought a mattock and tape on the day Mr Leveson disappeared to build a veggie patch at their Cronulla unit, but lied about buying them during a police interview.

"I was worried I suppose," he said while being grilled by Counsel Assisting Lester Fernandez on Thursday.

Mr Fernandez asked Mr Atkins what was causing him concern and what did he think was in the minds of the detectives.

"That I've done something with Matt," he said after appearing to attempt to avoid giving a direct answer several times.

"Have you done something with Matt?" Mr Fernandez shot back.

"No," Mr Atkins said.

After answering "I'm not sure" and "I don't know" to more questions, Mr Atkins said he had not told police about driving to a hardware store and buying a mattock and duct tape on the same day his boyfriend vanished.

Apart from it "looking bad", the crucial omission was due to his lack of faith in the NSW police, he said.

"I've never had great dealings with the police," he told the inquest.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Atkins said he could not remember what had happened to the mattock, tape and a shovel he had previously kept in a common area of his unit block.

Mr Fernandez had earlier suggested mattocks were used for digging trenches and breaking hard soil, and could be used to dig graves.

A receipt for the purchase carried Mr Atkins' DNA and fingerprint and was found inside Mr Leveson's car, which was later discovered abandoned in Sutherland.

The mattock, tape and shovel have never been found.

"I just thought somebody borrowed it," Mr Atkins said when asked if he had disposed of the tools.

Throughout his time answering questions, Mr Atkins has maintained he thought Mr Leveson would return and suggested he may have gone to Thailand to start a new life.

Mr Atkins was acquitted of Mr Leveson's murder in 2009.

He is giving evidence at the hearing under protection of immunity, meaning his testimony can't be used against him in future prosecution.

The inquest continues before NSW Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott, with Mr Atkins to face a fifth day of questions on Friday.

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