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

Murder trial witness heard voice 'crying out' from esky

A WITNESS in the murder trial of three Cooloola Coast fishermen says he heard a voice "crying out for help" from a commercial esky in his former boss's back yard.

Ian Schutz, 24, told Brisbane Supreme Court he was working for Tin Can Bay trawler skipper Stephen John Armitage when he made the discovery in December, 2013.

He said he and several others were in Mr Armitage's shed when he heard muffled cries pleading for food and water coming from a pile of eskys in the back corner.

When he asked what was going on, Mr Schutz was allegedly told the man inside the esky had been "drugging women" and was a "pretty bad person".

He claimed Matthew Leslie Armitage, who along with his father and their friend William Francis Dean are charged with the torture and murder of Gold Coast man Shaun Barker, then threatened their alleged hostage.

"He went over there (to the esky) and told old mate to shut up otherwise he was going to put a hose in there," Mr Schutz said

"After that music got turned up louder and I was told to keep working."

Later, Mr Schutz allegedly saw a body fall out of an esky from a forklift which was allegedly being driven by Mr Armitage.

He also recalled hearing that week that the Armitages allegedly had a man tied to a tree in the forestry.

He said he saw a container of honey on the table at the Cooloola Cove home and heard Matthew Armitage and Mr Dean "having a joke and a laugh about the fact they had just put honey on someone's testicles and watched the ants eat it off.

Mr Schutz said he would often work for Stephen Armitage in return for the drug "ice".

Asked about his own drug history, Mr Schutz admitted he was a heavy user of "ice" at the time of the alleged events and previously smoked so much cannabis he chose not to get a driver's licence in case he was a danger on the road.

The trial continues.