Former US Marine accused of burning his wife to death in front of their children is talking and fully aware of the charges against him after spending weeks in a coma
- Kelly Wilkinson was allegedly burned to death at her home on the Gold Coast
- Her ex-husband, former US marine Brian Earl Johnston, charged with murder
- Lawyer says he’s talking while in hospital for burns and understands his charges
Kelly Wilkinson and Brian Johnston on their wedding day. Johnston, an ex-US marine, is accused of burning his ex-wife to death
A former US marine accused of murdering his ex-wife can speak again and is ‘fully aware’ of his charges after spending weeks in hospital in a coma.
Kelly Wilkinson, 27, was found dead in the backyard of her home in Arundel on the Gold Coast about 6.40am on April 20, having suffered severe burns.
Her ex-husband of ten years Brian Earl Johnston, a former corporal in the US military, is accused of setting Ms Wilkinson alight and breaching a domestic violence order.
Johnston is recovering from burns while under guard at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and his lawyer said he has begun speaking and his condition is ‘improving’.
‘His voice is back. He’s very coherent in relation to understanding what’s going on, he’s fully aware of the charges against him,’ his lawyer Chris Hannay told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘I went up there (to the hospital) to get him to sign some documents and he was able to do that with the assistance of one of the nurses.
‘It’s going to be, I would probably think, two to three months away before he’s in any position to be walking or in a reasonable condition.’
Johnston is recovering from burns while under guard at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital but his lawyer says one month later he’s began speaking and his condition is ‘improving’
Johnston had allegedly fled the home after the incident and was found nearby in a ‘semiconscious’ state.
He’d been granted police bail for other serious charges just nine days before the alleged attack.
Ms Wilkinson’s three children aged between two and nine, who were at home at the time of the alleged attack, have since moved in with their selfless aunt Danielle Carroll, who has five children of her own.
The community has since rallied around the Carroll family with some of Australia’s leading retailers, including Harvey Norman, Officeworks, and YouFoodz providing them with supplies as they adjust to their new lives.
Johnston had allegedly fled the home after the incident and was found nearby in a ‘semiconscious’ state
Ms Wilkinson’s three children aged between two and nine, who were at home at the time of the alleged attack, have since moved in with their selfless aunt Danielle Carroll, who has five children of her own
Since their mother’s death, Ms Wilkinson’s three children and their five cousins – who are all under 11 – have been packed into bunk beds in the Carolls’ four bedroom house, and the family has needed to upsize their car to a mini bus.
Construction company Metricon are building the family-of-ten a new home for free on a plot of land offered up by an anonymous donor.
The coroner and Police Ethical Standards Command are investigating the circumstances around Ms Wilkinson’s death.