Ex-partner of woman found burned in backyard remanded in custody

Police found Kelly Wilkinson's burnt body in the backyard of her Arundel home.

Police found Kelly Wilkinson's burnt body in the backyard of her Arundel home. Photo: Facebook

The former partner of a Gold Coast woman whose body was found with burns in her backyard has been remanded in custody after being charged with murder and breaching a domestic violence order.

Brian Earl Johnston, 34, is under police guard in a Brisbane hospital after sustaining serious burns to his hands and airway.

There was no application for bail and he was remanded in custody at a hearing in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.

Police conducting a welfare check discovered the body of Kelly Wilkinson, 27, in the garden of her Arundel home early on Tuesday morning after neighbours called police to report a disturbance.

Mr Johnston, from New Beith in Logan, was found in the front yard of a home about two blocks away in a “semi-conscious” state.

He was charged with murder and breaching a domestic violence order by detectives on Tuesday night.

His lawyer, Chris Hannay, said outside court that his client “was in a bad way”.

“I have been told his injuries are fairly substantial in relation to burns,” he said.

kelly wilkinson murder

Arundel resident Louise Christy kneels in mourning outside Ms Wilkinson’s house. Photo: AAP

A post-mortem was being conducted on Wednesday, but the court heard pathology results could take up to nine months.

Officers were confronted with a grim scene when they arrived at the Arundel home.

“It’s obviously a very confronting scene, a female person deceased,” Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said.

Forensic police catalogued the crime scene at Ms Wilkinson’s home and one at Langer Place, where the man was found.

Officers remained at Ms Wilkinson’s home on Wednesday morning.

Tributes have flowed online for the mother of three small children, with family and friends posting messages.

“Oh babe … my heart reaches out to u all … If u need anything we are only a call away,” one person wrote on Facebook.

Another said: “I’m so sorry for your loss … if you guys need anything don’t hesitate to ask.”

Friends and family of the young mother have set up a crowdfunding campaign to pay for her funeral and support her family.

So far, more than $60,000 has been raised.

Member for Bonney, Sam O’Connor, said the loss of the “vibrant young mum is devastating”.

“Having something so horrific happen on a quiet local street has shocked all of us,” he said.

“Many families in our area will feel this profoundly.”

Family and domestic violence support:


Topics: Gold Coast
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