Ex-husband pleads guilty to murdering Kelly Wilkinson

Kelly Wilkinson's estranged husband has pleaded guilty to her murder.

Kelly Wilkinson's estranged husband has pleaded guilty to her murder. Photo: GoFundMe

The estranged husband of mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson, who was doused in petrol and set alight, has pleaded guilty to her murder less than a month before his scheduled trial.

Brian Earl Johnston, 37, appeared before Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday via video link for arraignment on one count of murdering Ms Wilkinson on April 20, 2021 in a Gold Coast backyard as a domestic violence offence.

Justice Peter Callaghan asked Johnston to repeat his plea of guilty as it was not clear on the video link from custody.

Prosecutors previously alleged Johnston tied the mother-of-three up before setting her alight at her Arundel home.

The former US marine was previously also charged with breaching a domestic violence order and his bail conditions.

Johnston was arrested two blocks from the home suffering burns to his hands.

In court on Wednesday, Johnston did not respond when asked if he wanted to say anything as to why sentence should not be passed upon him.

Defence barrister Kim Bryson said she had agreed with crown prosecutor Philip McCarthy that March 13 would be suitable for a sentencing hearing.

“There are some factual matters that remain contested in relation to the background of the relationship … we have been frustrated in our efforts to get out to the prison due to the lockdowns that have occurred,” Ms Bryson said.

Mr McCarthy said there was also a contest of facts over the motivation for Johnston murdering Ms Wilkinson.

Justice Callaghan said he could change the sentencing date if needed and ordered that Johnston remain in custody.

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