UPDATE: FB page defending Gympie killers under investigation

UPDATE:

QUEENSLAND Corrective Services are investigating whether a prisoner at the Woodford Correctional Centre is operating a social media account via a second party after the discovery of Facebook page 'Prove Our Innocences' (sic), run by a user who identifies as convicted murderer 'Stephen Armitage'.

The page campaigns to "prove the innocence" of Cooloola Cove fisherman Stephen John Armitage and his son Matthew Leslie Armitage, who were convicted of torturing and killing Gold Coast man Shaun Barker whose burnt remains were found in forestry at Tin Can Bay after he disappeared in 2013.

The father and son are in Woodford Correctional Centre, waiting sentencing later this month. 

A Corrective services spokesman said prisoners did not have access to social media or the internet.

"Any prisoners involved in learning programs who use computers are limited to an intranet only," they said.

The 'Prove our Innocences' Facebook page has been set up using the image of murder victim Shaun Barker, whose remains were found in the Toolara Forest at Tin Can Bay.
The 'Prove our Innocences' Facebook page has been set up using the image of murder victim Shaun Barker, whose remains were found in the Toolara Forest at Tin Can Bay. Contributed

"It is an offence to have possession of a mobile phone in a correctional centre.

"Regular, random and targeted searches are undertaken to locate and discourage contraband in correctional centres. Any prisoner found with contraband is referred to the Queensland Police Service.

"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."

Sheridan Mollenhauer, the victim's sister, was outraged the campaign had used the face of her brother to promote itself.

"I just don't want him (Armitage) to use my brother's photo," a distraught Mrs Mollenhauer has told The Gympie Times.

"They can start 20 groups claiming their innocence but when they use a photo of my brother it is too far. I just want them to take the photo down," she said.

"At the end of the day he is a murderer."

EARLIER:

A SOCIAL media campaign to "prove the innocence" of two convicted Gympie region murderers has left the family of their brutally tortured victim feeling even more devastated.

The sister of Gold Coast man Shaun Barker, Sheridan Mollenhauer, has told of her outrage when she came across the Facebook page Prove Our Innocences (sic), which uses a profile picture of her dead brother to support the claim to innocence of Cooloola Cover fisherman Stephen John Armitage and his son Matthew Leslie Armitage, who were both convicted in the Supreme Court last year of murder, torture and interfering with a corpse.

 

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

Harrowing details emerged surrounding Mr Barker's death in December 2013.

A third man, fellow fisherman William Dean, was also found guilty of Mr Barker's murder.

The trial heard Mr Barker was kidnapped from the Gold Coast after being accused of stealing drugs, before being held hostage in a commercial fishing esky where he was beaten and deprived of food and water.

"We smashed his kneecaps in, broke his fingers...smashed his face in. You wouldn't even recognise him," Stephen Armitage told a witness, prosecutor Glen Cash said during the trial.

He was also allegedly zip-tied to a tree with honey spread on his genitals to attract ants before he died.

After the men's arrests, South Eastern Regional Crime Coordinator detective superintendent David Hutchinson described Mr Barker's murder as "one of the most horrific ones in recent times".

His charred body was later found dumped in the Toolara State Forest at Tin Can Bay.

Stephen Armitage of Investigator Av Cooloola Cove.  Police searched house in relation to Toolara Forest skull.  Photo Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times
Stephen Armitage of Investigator Av Cooloola Cove. Police searched house in relation to Toolara Forest skull. Photo Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times Patrick Woods

The public Facebook page, created on Boxing Day last year by a Facebook user who identifies themselves as "Stephen Armitage" has 68 members and several posts claiming to detail the Armitage's movements around the time of the murder and torture of Mr Barker.

But that is not what is upsetting the victim's sister the most.

"I just don't want him (Armitage) to use my brother's photo," a distraught Mrs Mollenhauer has told The Gympie Times.

"They can start 20 groups claiming their innocence but when they use a photo of my brother it is too far. I just want them to take the photo down," she said.

"At the end of the day he is a murderer."

 

The 'Prove our Innocences' Facebook page, administrated by 'Stephen Armitage'
The 'Prove our Innocences' Facebook page, administrated by 'Stephen Armitage' Contributed

The Brisbane woman said her family's life has been turned upside down since the vile crime against her brother.

"Shaun was my only brother," she said.

"Every part of my life has changed; every part of my parent's life has changed.

"I found out he was murdered on my honeymoon."

 

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



Picture: 

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

His traumatised sister was sceptical the page had been started and was being run by her brother's murderer who is in jail or by one of his family members or supporters.

"If it is, it concerns me that he has access to Facebook," she said.

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