We can do better: Qld cop on slain mum

·3-min read

Slain mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson repeatedly told Queensland police she was in danger and even got domestic violence support workers to reiterate her fears before she was set on fire in her backyard.

Every contact police had with the young mum will be forensically examined in a series of reviews and investigations sparked by her horrific death on the Gold Coast this week.

Police first learned of Ms Wilkinson's fears about her estranged partner Brian Earl Johnston in late March when she detailed treatment that spanned "weeks, and months", and possibly longer.

Johnston is being treated in hospital for burns and has been charged with murder and breaching bail conditions. Police say he is also facing a range of other serious charges.

Ms Wilkinson, 27, twice went to a police stations on or before April 11 to raise concerns about her safety, Gold Coast District Superintendent Rhys Wildman said on Thursday.

But she also reached out to domestic violence support services, who contacted police on her behalf two days later to reiterate how fearful she was.

Police said they were unaware that a second meeting sought by support workers had been scheduled, but Ms Wilkinson was killed before that could happen. They also didn't know about her family's claims that they had also gone to police.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd leads Queensland Police's new domestic violence task force, established after the death of Doreen Langham in February, in a fire police believe was lit by her estranged ex-partner Gary Hely who died in the same blaze.

Ms Langham contacted police daily in the lead up to her death, but despite that her final call for help was classified as non-urgent by a triple-zero operator.

Mr Codd said a suite of probes - including an internal review, and a criminal and coronial investigation - would determine if there'd been a systemic failure that contributed to Ms Wilkinson's death.

He said police would never be able to prevent every domestic violence death, but any death was a failure.

"She engaged with the system, with us, and we were unable to prevent this from occurring," he told reporters.

Mr Codd said there must be better ways to pick up on early indicators and intervene.

"We can do better," he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Ms Wilkinson's death was "absolutely horrific".

"That should never have to happen to anybody at all and I do hope that justice is served," she told parliament.

The state government has ordered the task force to make recommendations on criminalising coercive control in October and for reforming the justice system for women in March.

The federal Minister for Women's Safety Anne Ruston said Ms Wilkinson's death was unspeakably brutal, and "the system has failed her".

"It just brings home to us ... that we have to do more. And I'm absolutely open to a conversation with the states and territories about how we can all work together so that we don't keep having this conversation."

She said protection orders often involved in domestic violence cases weren't worth the paper they were written on if not enforced.

"There is actually some very strong merit in having nationally-consistent rules around the whole of Australia around making sure that we're keeping women safe."

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