Kelly Wilkinson's sister who took in children of slain mum speaks out

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

The sister of Kelly Wilkinson who was allegedly murdered by her estranged husband at her Gold Coast home earlier this month has paid tribute to the young mum as she takes custody of her three young children.

The burnt body of Ms Wilkinson, 27, was found at her Arundel home on April 20 before the discovery of her injured former partner Brian Earl Johnston at a nearby property. 

The 34-year-old was later charged with murder and breaching a domestic violence order by Queensland Police.

Ms Wilkinson's sister Danielle Carroll and her husband Rhys have since taken in her three children, who are all under the age of nine. They have taken up temporary residence in her living room under the same roof as her own five children.

Kelly Wilkinson died last Tuesday, allegedly killed by her former partner. Source: GoFundMe
Kelly Wilkinson died last Tuesday, allegedly killed by her former partner. Source: GoFundMe

"We are one big family now," Ms Carroll told Channel Nine's Today show.

"We have been in open discussions with the children as things are progressing. Just letting them know that a sense of belonging at our house, they are eternally loved."

Ms Carroll hailed her sister's commitment to her family before her death.

"The person she was, she gave more than she had. From the moment we had our firstborn son she was only a young teen and she was always around trying to spend time with him," she said.

"That's now flowed on to the amazing mum that she was for her own children."

Community plea for new family home

Local businesswoman Tamika Smith, whose step-brother is married to Ms Carroll, is in the process of fundraising to build a home for the family to comfortably accommodate all eight children, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

“We’ve just started from scratch. We need land, we need a house, we need everything in between. It’s a great opportunity for the construction sector to step up," she told the publication, calling for local businesses to get onboard. 

The family of Kelly Wilkinson, Ms Carroll pictured third right, at a vigil for the mother-of-three. Source: AAP
The family of Kelly Wilkinson, Ms Carroll pictured third right, at a vigil for the mother-of-three. Source: AAP

“I just want to ensure that we’re not another group of people that puts our head in the sand and ignores this when these kids need our help.”

A separate GoFundMe page set up by Ms Wilkinson's other sister Natalie Wilkinson has raised more than $275,000. Funds will be designated to funeral costs, the children's education and other costs, the page explains.

Hundreds gathered at a vigil in Parkwood on Monday afternoon to pay tribute to Ms Wilkinson.

Local state MP Sam O'Connor read a statement on behalf of Ms Wilkinson's family that described her as a "beloved daughter, sister and mother".

"Kelly was a strong, fierce woman with an enormous heart."

Mr O'Connor, who helped organise the event, said it was a tragedy to lose another woman to an alleged domestic violence incident.

"I will do everything I can to make sure this tragedy leads to change. This must stop," the Bonney MP said.

Former Court of Appeal judge Margaret McMurdo, who heads a taskforce reviewing women's experiences in the justice system, says there's strong support for an independent probe into police handling of Ms Wilkinson's case.

"It's perhaps not for me to say that in the current political climate, but there is strong support I think within the community for an independent investigation," she told reporters on Thursday.

If you or somebody you know is experiencing family violence contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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