Mum, 27, 'burned alive outside her home while 3 kids were inside' as 'killer ex' under cop guard in hospital with burns

A YOUNG mum was allegedly set alight and killed by her ex in the back garden of her home in Australia while her three kids were inside.

The estranged partner of the victim – Kelly Wilkinson, 27 – has been charged with murder as he is guarded by cops in hospital with burn injuries after her body was discovered in the backyard of her house on the Gold Coast.


Police dashed to the scene in Spikes Court, Arundel, after a worried neighbour reported a disturbance to cops at 6.40am local time.

Officers found a burnt body in the garden and are treating the case as a homicide.

Her ex, Brian Johnston, was located nearby in a “semiconscious state” two blocks away shortly after, also with burn injuries.

He had burns to his hands and airways, and was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious condition.

Queensland Police have now charged Johnston, a 34-year-old New Beith man, with murder – as well as breaching a domestic violence order.

Detectives allege Johnston set the mum-of-three on fire, killing her, reports Gold Coast Bulletin.

The suspect, who remains in hospital under police guard, will have the charges presented to the Southport Magistrates Court tomorrow in his absence.

Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said Kelly's three children, all under the age of nine, were at the home at the time, but are safe.

Neighbours told cops they saw a man running from the scene covered in blood.

"He turned up in the bushes in the house next door to me – his left arm was heavily bandaged," one told 9News.

"(A passerby) saw the fella and asked you know, 'are you okay mate?'.

"He made some remark like, 'I'm fine', but he had his head down."

Formal identification of the body found is taking place, but Gold Coast detectives believe it to be that of Kelly Wilkinson, who lived at the address.

Forensic investigators have been pictured at the scene as officers combed the area for evidence.

Rubbish collection in the area was also halted as cops searched through bins for evidence that may have been discarded by the suspect.

"One of the lines of inquiry is the male person located and the deceased female person were known to each other and were potentially in a previous relationship," Detective Ahearn said.

"The forensic examination will take some time.

"There may be further evidence that has left that scene. Our intention is to lock that area down and determine [whether that is the case].”

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The detective added that at this stage police are not focusing inquiries elsewhere.

“We believe he has a link to that house,” Detective Ahearn said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Natalie Wilkinson to help fund her funeral, as well as schooling costs for the children.

It reads: "Unfortunately Kelly has passed away in a DV circumstance we are trying to raise money to pay for the funeral, the kids schooling and all other costs.

"Please help us! We appreciate any help no matter how big or small."

So far, almost £26,000 has been donated by more than 1,000 well-wishers.

One described Kelly as a "bubbly, friendly girl."

Natalie also uploaded a new profile picture on Facebook today picturing Kelly, with the caption: “My beautiful angels.”

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