The following contains details of domestic abuse, which may be triggering for some readers.
This afternoon, the Gold Coast community will farewell Kelly Wilkinson, whose burned corpse was found in her own backyard last week.
Police say Ms Wilkinson’s three children, all under the age of nine, likely witnessed her death. Two blocks away from the murder scene, the 27-year-old’s estranged husband, 34-year-old Brian Earl Johnston, was found semi-conscious with burn injuries.
He has since been charged with her murder, breaching a domestic violence order and breaching bail conditions for other serious charges.
Reg Wilkinson, her father, told 7News his daughter’s death was “totally preventable”. Gold Coast police also confirmed it was their “failure” that they did not do more to protect the young mother when she asked for help.
Ms Wilkinson’s callous death shocked the local community and the country, not only for its brutality but also because of its parallels to the death of Hannah Clarke, who last year was burned alive by her estranged husband alongside her three children who also died.
The similarities are stark: Two young mothers, set alight by their estranged husbands who broke domestic violence orders to allegedly murder them in front of their respective three children, in the state of Queensland. Ms Wilkinson’s children did not die, unlike Ms Clarke’s, but they will no doubt be scarred by what they woke up to that Tuesday morning.
In the days since Ms Wilkinson’s death, two more women and a child have died in domestic and family violence incidents in Australia.