Picture of Cooloola Cove man Matthew Leslie Armitage, who is one of three people accused of murdering Shaun Barker and dumping his body near Gympie. Picture: Supplied
Picture of Cooloola Cove man Matthew Leslie Armitage, who is one of three people accused of murdering Shaun Barker and dumping his body near Gympie. Picture: Supplied

Witness tells court man in Esky cried out for help

A MURDER accused yelled "Shut the f**k up c**t" at a man who fell from an Esky at his property, a committal hearing witness says.

Tin Can Bay resident Ian Schutz was giving evidence in Brisbane Magistrates Court when he said Matthew Leslie Armitage, 22, yelled the obscenities at the man in the Esky after the man cried out for help.

Mr Armitage, his father Stephen John Armitage, 45, and Highfields resident William Frances Dean, 37, were charged with murder, deprivation of liberty and torture following the death of Gold Coast resident Shaun Matthew Barker.

Mr Barker was last seen alive on December 10, 2013 in Broadbeach and his body was found in a forest near Tin Can Bay in April, 2014.

"I just remember seeing a forklift near an Esky near a ute and someone fell out of it - it's just flashes (of images in my head)," Mr Schutz told the court.

"I was frightened I was going to end up in there (in the Esky) too."

READ MORE: Murder accused 'intimidate' me, says witness

Mr Schutz told the court he was at the Cooloola Cove property doing mechanical work on vehicles for Stephen Armitage.

Mr Schutz also told the court his use of marijuana and ice was so bad that he could not drive and he even struggled to remember his own age.

"I started smoking when I was 18. I think I'm 22 (now)," he said.

Another witness told the court that her son "did a runner up north" after trying to "revive a dead man".

ACCUSED: Cooloola Cove residents Stephen John Armitage (pictured), his son Matthew Leslie Armitage  and Highfields resident William Frances Dean are charged with the murder and torture of Shaun Matthew Barker.
ACCUSED: Cooloola Cove residents Stephen John Armitage (pictured), his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and Highfields resident William Frances Dean are charged with the murder and torture of Shaun Matthew Barker.

Lissa Couchman is the sister of Stephen Armitage and the aunt of Matthew Armitage.

Ms Couchman told the court her son, Kane Ostwald, was "scared for his life" after he saw a dead man "in the bush".

She said her son told her he was high on drugs when he saw the body.

"Kane told me that he was taken out into the bush with everyone," Ms Couchman said.

"He couldn't tell me who he was with.

"He had to revive a person. A person was out in front of him dead."

Meanwhile, a detective charged with investigating the alleged murder denied police put "pressure" on witnesses.

"It was not a specific strategy," Detective Sergeant Duncan Gorrie said.

The court on Monday heard from a number of witnesses who admitted to using ice and having knowledge of a body falling from an Esky at the Armitage home.

The hearing is adjourned to March 7.

The defendants remain in custody.


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