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Queensland: Wannbe gangsters who crammed man into an esky and tortured him until he died are imprisoned

Wannabe gangsters who crammed a man into an esky and tortured him until he died are thrown behind bars – while disturbing details of his last moments come to the fore

  • Drug trader Shaun Barker disappeared in 2013 before charred remains were found
  • Part of his skull and jawbone were first discovered, followed by bone fragments
  • Three commercial fishermen – including a father and son – were imprisoned
  • Their convictions for murder were destroyed before they were found guilty of manslaughter

Drug trader Shaun Barker was fished in an esky, deprived of food and abused for weeks before his death.

His captors tied him to a tree in a forest in Gympie, north of Brisbane.

They put honey on its testicles so that ants can eat off.

Stephen John Armitage, pictured tied to a bed in a bizarre photo, previously successfully appealed to his murder conviction, but a guilty verdict for manslaughter was pronounced. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday

Stephen John Armitage, pictured tied to a bed in a bizarre photo, previously successfully appealed to his murder conviction, but a guilty verdict for manslaughter was pronounced. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday

Shaun Barker was kidnapped in December 2013 - and his charred remains were found scattered in the remote forest four months later. Pictured: Shaun Barker before his death in 2013

Shaun Barker was kidnapped in December 2013 - and his charred remains were found scattered in the remote forest four months later. Pictured: Shaun Barker before his death in 2013

Shaun Barker was kidnapped in December 2013 – and his charred remains were found scattered in the remote forest four months later. Pictured: Shaun Barker before his death in 2013

Their motivation was to scare him to provide information, probably about stolen drugs.

Some time in the weeks after he was kidnapped on December 10, 2013, Mr. Barker died.

He was reported missing the following month, but it was not until April 2014 that his charred remains were found scattered in the remote forest.

Part of his skull and jawbone were first discovered, followed by bone fragments and eventually more parts of his skeleton.

Some burned bones were found in a fire pit.

His cause of death could not be determined, but Judge David Jackson of Brisbane says that Barker died as a result of the circumstances in which he was being held, the attacks and hardships he suffered.

Stephen's son Matthew Leslie Armitage (posing with a wild boar) also successfully appealed in August to have his conviction for murder destroyed, but was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison

Stephen's son Matthew Leslie Armitage (posing with a wild boar) also successfully appealed in August to have his conviction for murder destroyed, but was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison

Stephen’s son Matthew Leslie Armitage (posing with a wild boar) also successfully appealed in August to have his conviction for murder destroyed, but was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to eight years in prison

Commercial fishermen Stephen John Armitage, 50, and his son Matthew Leslie Armitage, 27, along with William Francis Dean, 43, were sentenced to prison on Wednesday for the murder of Mr. Barker.

Stephen Armitage and Dean were each sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Matthew Armitage was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The trio’s murder convictions were overturned last year when a court of appeal discovered that they had no intention of letting Mr. Barker die.

The men have also been convicted of interfering with Mr Barker’s corpse.

The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial against torture, but the prosecution has withdrawn the charge.

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