New details emerge about ex-husband after mum's horrific death

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·4-min read

More than $100,000 has been raised for the family and young children of 27-year-old Kelly Wilkinson who was allegedly murdered by her ex-husband at her Gold Coast home.

Ms Wilkinson's burnt body was found in the backyard of her Arundel home on Tuesday morning. 

Her former husband, 34-year-old Brian Earl Johnston, has been charged with murder and breaching a domestic violence order. 

Johnston, an ex-US marine originally from Ohio, was arrested on Tuesday just two blocks from the Arundel property, where Ms Wilkinson's body was found.

A photo of Kelly Wilkinson whose burnt body was found in the backyard of her Arundel home.
Kelly Wilkinson died on Tuesday, allegedly killed by her former partner. Source: GoFundMe

Suffering burns to his hands and possibly his airway, Johnston was transferred to the burns unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane and remained under police guard as his charges were mentioned on Wednesday morning in Southport Magistrates Court.

After the brief mention, lawyer Chris Hannay said outside court Johnston had been "in a pretty bad way".

Mr Hannay had met with Johnston on Sunday, less than 48 hours before he allegedly attacked and murdered Ms Wilkinson.

"On Sunday, I got some instructions from him in relation to some other fairly serious matters that he has been charged with, and I haven't spoken to him since," Mr Hannay said.

Johnston did not appear distressed or agitated for the weekend conference, the lawyer said.

"Not really, he was pretty coherent," Mr Hannay said.

"We took suitable instructions. He was there with a colleague of his.

"We went through a whole lot of things about the domestic violence issues with the DV and the kids and the family.

"Obviously, no one expected this to happen, but everyone thought that they were just chugging along as a normal process."

A police car outside the home of Kelly Wilkinson on the Gold Coast.
Kelly Wilkinson's home where her body was found with significant burns in her backyard. Source: AAP

Kelly Wilkinson's family overwhelmed by community's generosity 

On Wednesday Ms Wilkinson's sister Natalie thanked those who had contributed to the GoFundMe fundraiser she set up shortly after her death.

"We would like to say thank you to every person who has donated or shared our post," she wrote.

"We are lost for words with the generosity found within the community. We would like to let everyone know we really appreciate all the donations and kind words."

The page, which has raised $107,000 as of Thursday morning, asked for assistance for funeral costs and the education of Ms Wilkinson's children as well as other costs.

On Tuesday, Natalie changed her profile picture on Facebook to a picture of herself with her sister and her mother who died earlier this year. 

"My beautiful angels," she wrote.

Kelly Wilkinson pictured with a child on her shoulders.
Kelly Wilkinson, a mum of three children, was allegedly murdered by her ex-husband. Source: Facebook

Dozens of messages of condolences and tributes to Ms Wilkinson were shared by friends and family on social media.

"This absolutely devastates me. Sending you so much love and strength to you," one person wrote.

Ms Wilkinson's Facebook page is filled with photos of her young children, all under the age of nine. 

Local Dominos franchisee Tom Walker said he would donate $1 of every pizza sold at his nine Gold Coast franchises to the Wilkinson family.

"I can’t even fathom what the Wilkinson Family is going through right now and want to do everything I can to help," he explained.

Pictured is Brian Earl Johnston.
Brian Earl Johnston had met with his lawyer just days before the alleged murder. Source: Facebook via Nine News

Johnston cannot apply for bail in the magistrates court and was formally remanded in custody until June 4.

Mr Hannay said Johnston was expected to apply for Supreme Court bail in the coming months.

Neighbours reported raised voices coming from the home about 6.40am on Tuesday.

"It was obviously a very confronting scene, a female person deceased in the rear yard of a residence, apparently suffering from burn-type injuries," Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said on Tuesday.

With AAP

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, find help by visiting Lifeline or calling 1800 RESPECT.

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