Gold Coast murder victim Shaun Barker.
Gold Coast murder victim Shaun Barker. Photo Contributed

Shaun Barker believed Yakuza was after him: court

THE man whose body was found burnt in the Toolara State Forest was paranoid and believed Japanese Yakuza gangs were after him, a court has heard.

Stephen John "Snoop" Armitage, his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and their friend William Francis Dean have been accused of torturing Gold Coast man Shaun Barker at Cooloola Cove, stuffing him in a commercial esky, killing him, burning his corpse and dumping it in the forest.

The three have pleaded not guilty at the Brisbane Supreme Court.

In his closing argument, Mr Dean's barrister Scott Lynch told the court Mr Barker was a heavy drug user who was paranoid and had declining health.

Mr Lynch said Mr Barker believed Japanese Yakuza crime gangs were chasing him - although other witnesses said they were Chinese gangs and were on his side.

Mr Lynch said the court had heard Mr Barker refused to talk to people around mobile phones because he thought his calls were being tapped.

"It's impossible to know who killed Shaun Barker," he said.

"It's also impossible to know what killed him."

Prosecutor Glen Cash told the court that although no one had seen any of the three kill Mr Barker there were too many coincidences involving them to not be involved.

"Commonsense tells you in a case like this, five witnesses can't all be wrong. Five witnesses can't all be lying to you," he said.

"Coincidences might be explained if there is one or two, but when there are three or four or five, then innocent explanations are hard to accept."

Witnesses have told the court the three accused men told them they had beaten a man up and were keeping him in an esky.

But defence lawyers attacked the credibility of witness Matthew Dean , no relation to William Dean, of having a long running dispute with Stephen Armitage over fishing spots and believed Mr Armitage was sleeping with his former partner.

Mr Deans did not deny he had a dispute with Mr Armitage but denied it had coloured his evidence.

The trial continues.

ARM NEWSDESK



'Distraught': Mum's worry after $30k mistake

premium_icon 'Distraught': Mum's worry after $30k mistake

A Gladstone mum is urging others to be vigilant

Gladstone firms make an industrial-sized donation

Gladstone firms make an industrial-sized donation

Industry and businesses chip in for Aussie Helpers charity

REVEALED: New red light speed camera for busy intersection

premium_icon REVEALED: New red light speed camera for busy intersection

The Gladstone spot has been identified as 'high risk'

Local Partners