It should have been a fantastic weekend. On 16th July, Gary Tweddle 23, joined workmates of computer company Oracle for a work conference at the Fairmont Resort in the beautiful Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney. He left the resort late at night and was never seen again.
Gary and girlfriend Anika Haigh
Witnesses said he seemed fine when he arrived with 40 other work colleagues at Silk's Brasserie in Leura for dinner but by the time he left just after 10.30pm, he seemed to be "affected by something." The taxi driver who took him and three others back to the resort after dinner said "he was wasted, seriously wasted."
Later that night he told more than one witness that he was going to source some drugs and ran out of the hotel without his glasses or his jacket just after midnight. He later frantically called his friends and told them he was lost in the dark and didn't know where he was. Then his phone died.
The beautiful but rugged Blue Mountains
It was the biggest search ever undertaken in the Blue Mountains and involved more than 1,000 volunteers. Hundreds of police, Search and Rescue personnel, helicopters, experienced bushwalkers and abseilers scoured cliffs and gullies for weeks, but the search was finally abandoned and the case was referred to the coroner.
Popular with abseilers
On Monday this week, an ambulance rescue helicopter on a training
exercise, spotted a body in branches, in a crevice 30 metres down a cliff face, about 2 kilometres from the Fairmont Hotel. It was later identified as Gary Tweddle, who was born in the UK and moved to Australia a few years ago.
His father David Tweddle flew out from to the UK to help in the search but after three weeks, returned home. "The place is so vast, the ravines and gullies are so deep, it's extremely difficult to find someone in those circumstances" he said. "The hardest thing for me personally was the moment the plane took off from Sydney - that was horrific."
Heartbroken father David Tweddle
There has been speculation he may have been affected by drugs but his family has pleaded for people to reserve judgment until the circumstances surrounding his death are heard before an inquest.