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

Accused killer's nephew tried to resuscitate victim: court

A WITNESS in the murder trial of three Cooloola Cove men says he tried to resuscitate their alleged victim Shaun Barker but he was already "cold and stiff”.

The evidence emerged during day three of the trial of commercial fisherman Stephen John Armitage who, together with his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and William Francis Dean, is charged with torturing and killing Mr Barker in December, 2013.

Kane Ostwald, the nephew of Stephen Armitage, sobbed as he told Brisbane Supreme Court he used to go to his uncle's home near Tin Can Bay to "get on” drugs and do odd jobs.

He said one night, he was picked up by a friend and taken to an area he described as the "forestry” between Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach.

He said when he saw his uncle turn up in his car he thought the group was at the remote location for a drug "cook” but he was shocked to see a man's body lying on the ground between an esky and tree.

"I started CPR,” Mr Ostwald said.

"I checked for breathing on his airways and chest and couldn't feel anything ... [he was on his] back all twisted up.”

Asked how the alleged victim's body felt, Mr Ostwald replied "cold and stiff”.

The court heard Mr Ostwald was later shown a police photo board and identified Mr Barker as the man he had seen that night.

The former ice addict was said to have moved to Tin Can Bay to live with his mother, Stephen Armitage's sister, after becoming "entrenched” in the drug world at Moranbah.

Mr Ostwald admitted he was a heavy ice user at the time of the alleged events and had been drinking rum "since lunchtime”.

He said that when he woke up on Stephen Armitage's couch the following morning he was "spooked and didn't know if the events were real” but that his feet were covered in "dirt, sand and mud”.

He claimed he was told by people at the house he had made a "fool” of himself and that the man he had allegedly tried to resuscitate was "breathing the whole time”.

He also claimed that a couple of months after that night, he and Matthew Armitage drove to north Queensland to try to offload a "bad batch” of drugs.

He said that during the trip, they pulled over to the side of the road at Sarina, near Mackay so Mr Armitage could dump a phone, iPad and other electronics into the river below.

The trial continues.


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