SHERIDAN Mollenhauer spent more than five years wanting to confront the men who killed her brother Shaun Barker.

On Wednesday she finally got her chance.

Facing Cooloola Cove fisherman Stephen John Armitage,his son Matthew Leslie Armitage and their co-conspirator William Francis Dean in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Ms Mollenhauer did not hold back as she revealed the pain of watching her little niece grow up without a dad.

"Shaun was 33 years old when you brutally murdered him,” Ms Mollenhauer told them.

"He was the father to a gorgeous two-year-old girl.

"When I reported my brother missing I never would have imagined I would be sitting in front of the men accused of his murder.

"To find out how he died was the worst nightmare.”

Dean was the ringleader, Stephen played a significant role and Matthew was more bystander than active participant, Justice David Jackson said while sentencing the trio to life behind bars.

Dean, a 41-year-old Toowoomba-born man, confronted Mr Barker about missing drugs at Pacific Fair on the Gold Coast on December 10, 2013.

The one-time Gladstone resident bashed the victim before driving him to the Cooloola Cove property owned by the Armitage men.

Mr Barker was forced into an Esky used by Stephen to store fish and he was held without food and water for days as the trio tried to extract information about the drugs.

"There was evidence he (Mr Barker) cried out for water and food,” Justice Jackson said.

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

The killers used a hose to "pipe water” into the Esky until he "almost drowned” and they "smashed his face, kneecaps and every bone in his left hand”, Justice Jackson said.

The killers also zip-tied him to a tree before covering his genitals in honey so ants would attack him.

It is not clear how Mr Barker died, but Justice Jackson said his body was burnt in a fire pit and his remains were scattered through the Toolara State Forest.

Police found his car and remains in April 2014 and the three men were charged with his murder the following October.

Cooloola Cove man Stephen Armitage, who along with his son Matthew Leslie Armitage, and another man have been sentenced to life in jail for murdering Shaun Barker and dumping his body near Gympie.
Cooloola Cove man Stephen Armitage, who along with his son Matthew Leslie Armitage, and another man have been sentenced to life in jail for murdering Shaun Barker and dumping his body near Gympie.

Separate juries convicted them of murder, torture and interfere with a corpse in 2017.

"You brutally murdered my brother,” Ms Mollenhauer said.

"You decided his life wasn't worth living, You made sure he suffered.”

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

The killers have served more than four years in jail and will be eligible for parole after 20 years.

TIMELINE OF MURDER

DECEMBER 10, 2013: William Francis Dean grabs Shaun Barker at a Gold Coast shopping centre and takes him to an unknown location where Mr Barker is bashed. Dean then drives Mr Barker to Cooloola Cove.

DECEMBER 10, 2013-APRIL 2014: Mr Barker is held for an unknown number of days and suffers brutal beatings and torture at the hands of Dean and Stephen John Armitage and his son Matthew Leslie Armitage.

APRIL 2014: Mr Barker's body is found in a forest near Gympie.

OCTOBER 2014: The three men are arrested and charged with murder.

2017: The men are convicted of torture, murder and interfering with a corpse.

FEBRUARY 21, 2018: The men are sentenced to life in prison with parole after 20 years.

- News Regional

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