Just weeks before she died, the Gold Coast mother who was allegedly burned to death at her home contacted her ex-husband’s former fiancée in the United States.
Kelly Wilkinson, 27, had questions about the woman’s experiences with the former US Marine Brian Earl Johnston, messages obtained by Daily Mail Australia show.
‘I’m sorry to message you with such a sensitive subject,’ Ms Wilkinson said. ‘When you were with Brian was he ever abusive in any form?
‘We are in Australia…I’m wondering if there’s a pattern with him he needs help.’
Ms Wilkinson had only just gone to police to seek a domestic violence order against Johnston when she fired off the message to his ex, who lives in Ohio.
About 6.40am on April 20, Ms Wilkinson was found dead in the backyard of her home in Arundel, having suffered severe burns.
Johnston, a former corporal in the US military, was charged with her murder – accused of setting her alight – and of breaching the DV order.
Kelly Wilkinson messaged her ex-husband Brian Johnston’s former fiancee, who lives in the United States, on March 29 local time in the United States to ask: ‘Was he ever abusive in any form?’ Queensland Police confirmed she sought a domestic violence order on that same date
Brian Johnston, 34, has been charged with the murder of Ms Wilkinson on April 20. Above, the pair dance on their wedding day
Johnston, above, in a selfie with his ex-lover, who requested anonymity to share details of Ms Wilkinson’s message
‘She must really have been grasping at straws reaching out to me,’ said the ex-fiancee, who admitted she was stunned and only learned about Ms Wilkinson’s death this week. ‘How alone she must have felt,’ Johnston’s ex said.
The woman, who requested anonymity, noted that Ms Wilkinson would have sent her the message about 5.43am on March 30, Queensland time. Local police have confirmed she went to the local station and was granted the DV order the previous day.
Johnston’s ex had been in a relationship with him from 2008 to 2011, at the tail end of his five year military career. A corporal, Johnston was twice deployed to Iraq, where he served as an aircraft mechanic.
His relationship with the woman eventually soured shortly after resigning his commission. He got together with Ms Wilkinson and returned to her native Australia, where he worked in yacht hydraulics.
Friends said they had been separated for some time before last week.
In their exchange, the ex spoke briefly about her own experiences with Johnston, before Ms Wilkinson candidly revealed: ‘I’ve got a domestic violence order against him for myself … Thank you for your honesty.
‘Ya, he sucks,’ Johnston’s former lover said.
Ms Wilkinson admitted in her exchange with Johnston’s ex-fiancee that she had a domestic violence order in place against him
Ms Wilkinson died age 27 on April 20 and is survived by her three children
A younger Johnston, above, is pictured with his former girlfriend
Assistant Queensland Police Commissioner Brian Codd last Thursday confirmed Ms Wilkinson had approached police over ‘domestic and family violence issues’.
Mr Codd’s remarks came amid a media firestorm over claims Ms Wilkinson and her family had gone to police on several occasions.
Asked if there were systematic issues in the police service, Mr Codd said her death was ‘ultimately a failure’ and that the matter was being reviewed.
‘A woman has died. She has been killed, we will allege, in horrific circumstances,’ he said.
‘We’re certainly going to make sure we look to improve … and correct any parts of the system that we control.’
The couple’s three children were in the home at the time Ms Wilkinson was allegedly attacked last week.
Ms Wilkinson’s father, Reg (centre), and family attended an evening vigil for Ms Wilkinson on Monday evening
More than 1000 locals turned out to pay tribute to Ms Wilkinson, many wearing green, her favourite colour
Johnston was taken to hospital, where he was held under police guard. He was charged and his case made a brief appearance in court last week.
He was formally refused bail with his case to return to court at a later date.
Johnston’s ex-lover said she had passed on her messages with Ms Wilkinson to CrimeStoppers.
On Monday evening, about one thousand people, many wearing Ms Wilkinson’s favourite colour green, gathered at the Gold Coast Titans training ground to pay silent tribute to Ms Wilkinson.
Some people brought inflatable green balloons which were released at the end of the vigil, while others carried sunflowers – Ms Wilkinson’s favourite flower.
As a guitarist played acoustic versions of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Perfect’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’, Ms Wilkinson’s family arrived and made their way to a row of white chairs at the front, her father Reg in tears as he trailed his daughters Natalie and Emma, his arm around daughter Danielle.