IT WAS this time last year that mum-of-four Helen Gordon was preparing to welcome home her son who was about to be released from jail.
But instead of seeing her second-born walk through the door, Ms Gordon was delivered the horrific news that Leonard, 22, was allegedly beaten to death in the exercise yard by a fellow inmate at the Maryborough Correctional Centre, just two days before his October 9 release.
"I feel like I've died, and everything is going on around me but my world has stopped," Ms Gordon said.
Leonard had been sentenced to a 10-month intensive corrections order for setting fire to the Godfrey's vacuum shop, causing almost $30,000 of damage, on April 24, 2011 - a crime his mum believes he did not commit.
The story of Leonard's life is one that was troubled, but nevertheless illustrates a grieving mother's undying love for a young man who was simply "misunderstood".
"Everyone sees the bad side of Leonard but he wasn't like that," Ms Gordon said.
"He was a shy kid. He didn't have many friends.
"When he did get friends he did whatever they did."
Though he was no stranger to having run-ins with the law for petty crimes, Ms Gordon said her son had always watched out for his family.
"When he was 10, he mowed the neighbour's lawn and made $25," she said.
"He was all hot and sweaty and came home to me and said 'Here, mum. We can go to Sizzlers for dinner - it's my shout'. That's the sort of boy he was."
Sadly, it is not the first time Ms Gordon has lost one of her own.
"We had another baby, Andrew, but he has been dead for 21 years now," she said.
"We had him for only a few months."
And even as tomorrow marks the one year anniversary since Leonard's death, Ms Gordon still cannot erase from her mind the day her world was turned upside down, for the second time.
"I was in mental health and they came in and said that Leonard had died," she said.
"I spoke to him on the Monday and he died on the Tuesday - he was meant to be coming home on the Thursday."
Ms Gordon said she still felt that Leonard would burst through the door any second.
"It still feels like he's there and just hasn't rang me to say he is coming home," she said through tears.
"I love him more than you can imagine. I miss him."
Inmate Gregory George Glebow has been charged with Leonard's murder. The matter is still before the courts.
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