News Second man charged over Kelly Wilkinson’s murder

Second man charged over Kelly Wilkinson’s murder

The family of Kelly Wilkinson leave a vigil for the murdered woman on the Gold Coast in April. Photo: AAP
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A second man has been charged with the murder of Gold Coast woman Kelly Wilkinson, who was allegedly set alight in her back yard by her estranged husband in April.

The 25-year-old Pimpama man was arrested at a Coomera business on Tuesday morning and charged with the 27-year-old’s murder on April 20.

Police allege the man was known to Kelly’s estranged husband and was aware of his intent to murder her.

It is also alleged he assisted in preparatory acts before Ms Wilkinson was killed, including stopping at a petrol station to obtain fuel before driving her estranged husband to her house.

“We will allege he knew what the end result was going to be,” Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said on Tuesday.

“These acts were preparatory to – he aided Kelly’s estranged husband with committing a number of acts that helped him in the murder so, in the Queensland law, you can be held culpable for murder in those circumstances.”

“The circumstances of Kelly’s death are tragic in themselves. But that a second person would go and aid the person who was intending on killing her … is reprehensible.”

Police believe the 25-year-old man was not known to Ms Wilkinson or her family.

Three months have passed since Ms Wilkinson’s estranged husband Brian Earl Johnston was charged with her murder in April.

Police say investigations revealed information which culminated in the second man’s arrest.

The 25-year-old was initially interviewed by police after Ms Wilkinson’s murder, but subsequent investigations have discounted his version of events.

Police seized phones and believe the two men lived together intermittently, but not in a permanent arrangement.

When Ms Wilkinson was killed, it’s alleged that Johnston tied up the mother of three before setting her alight at her Arundel home.

The 34-year-old former US Marine was 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 and possibly his airway.

He was transferred to the burns unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

Johnstone remains in custody after being refused bail and briefly appeared in court on Friday.

His lawyers asked the judge for an adjournment until October.

The second man has been refused bail and will appear in Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday.