Gold Coast man Shaun Barker was killed before his body was burnt and left in forest near Gympie. Picture: Contributed
Gold Coast man Shaun Barker was killed before his body was burnt and left in forest near Gympie. Picture: Contributed

Probe into prisoner’s Facebook innocence plea

AUTHORITIES are investigating whether one of the men convicted of torturing and murdering a Gold Coast father is running a Facebook "innocence" page about his case.

Stephen Armitage, his son Matthew Armitage, and another man, William Dean - all Tin Can Bay fishermen - were last year convicted of the 2013 murder of Shaun Barker.

A jury heard Mr Barker was kept alive for days in a commercial Esky, starved of food and water, and beaten repeatedly before he was eventually killed.

Stephen Armitage was one of three men last year convicted of murdering Shaun Barker. Picture: Supplied
Stephen Armitage was one of three men last year convicted of murdering Shaun Barker. Picture: Supplied

At one point, he was zip tied to a tree and had honey spread over his genitalia to attract ants.

The court heard the men killed Mr Barker because they believed he had stolen drugs from them.

They then burnt his body and left it in the Toolara State Forest, near Gympie.

The Facebook page, titled "Prove Our Innocences" has been running since December and is managed by a profile with the name Stephen Armytage.

"Now that we have been found guilty and staring down a barrel of a life sentence in jail, we are left with no choice but to bring forward previously unseen evidence and facts that are going to put all the missing puzzle pieces together," a post reads.

"For you the public as well as too [sic] prove our innocence, not only will this show how easy it is for innocent people to be wrongly incarcerated for a crime that they did not commit and it will also show who the real guilty person or persons are."

The page calls on witnesses to contact Armytage in prison if they want to "revoke their statement" and accuses people of fabricating evidence.

The page is understood to have greatly upset members of Mr Barker's family.

Matthew Leslie Armitage was last year convicted for the murder of Shaun Barker, whose body was found near Gympie. Picture: Supplied
Matthew Leslie Armitage was last year convicted for the murder of Shaun Barker, whose body was found near Gympie. Picture: Supplied

A spokesman from Queensland Corrective Services said the matter was under investigation.

"QCS is currently investigating whether a prisoner at the Woodford Correctional Centre is operating a social media account via a second party," he said.

"QCS has no jurisdiction if a social media account is being operated by a second party to a prisoner. However, QCS intelligence officers monitor prisoner phone calls and mail and can refer a prisoner to QPS if there is evidence of first-hand information being passed on."

The spokesman said prisoners do not have access to social media or the internet and it was an offence for an inmate to have possession of a mobile phone.

A prisoner found to have smuggled a mobile phone into a jail is referred to police.



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