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Kelly Wilkinson’s alleged killer ‘on the mend’

    The alleged killer of Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson – who could “barely talk” while on remand – is “on the mend” but is likely to remain behind bars up to his sentencing, his lawyer says.

    Brian Earl Johnston, Ms Wilkinson’s estranged husband, and another man, Bradley Bell, are both charged with murdering the mother of three in April.

    Her burnt body was found by police at the back of her Gold Coast home on April 20.

    Police allegedly located Mr Johnston close by with serious burns to his hands and airway.

    Mr Johnston and Mr Bell did not appear before Southport Magistrates Court on Friday as their lawyers asked for a month’s adjournment.

    Chris Hannay, appearing for Mr Johnston, sought a date in November to finalise his client‘s registry committal.

    The burnt body of Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson was found in the back of her Arundel home in April.

    The burnt body of Gold Coast mum Kelly Wilkinson was found in the back of her Arundel home in April.

    Outside court, Mr Hannay told NCA NewsWire that Mr Johnston’s health had improved and he was “on the mend”.

    “We’re able to take reasonable instructions from Mr Johnston,” Mr Hannay said.

    He said Mr Johnston would not be applying for Supreme Court bail.

    “He’d be staying there until his sentence, I’d say,” Mr Hannay said.

    James Grehan, appearing for Mr Bell, told the court he had only just received the brief of evidence for his client’s matter.

    “My client was charged quite a while after my friend’s client was charged,” he said.

    “I’m a little bit behind the eight ball I suppose.”

    Both men will return to court on November 21. No application for bail was made.

    Police allege Mr Johnston doused his estranged wife in petrol before setting her alight on April 20 in the back of her home at Spikes Court in Arundel.

    It is further alleged Mr Bell, 25, drove Mr Johnston to the home and helped fill up a jerry can with fuel along the way.

    Brian Earl Johnston,

    Brian Earl Johnston,
    Bradley Bell.
    Bradley Bell.

    Mr Bell was charged with murder in July after ongoing police investigations into Ms Wilkinson’s death.

    Detective Inspector Chris Ahearn said police would allege Mr Bell’s acts were “preparatory” to aid Mr Johnston with Ms Wilkinson’s murder.

    “In Queensland law, you can be held culpable for murder in those circumstances,” Inspector Ahearn said in July.

    “This man was interviewed by police at the time of Ms Wilkinson’s murder … he gave a version at the time (and) subsequent police investigations have been able to discount that version.

    “We will allege he knew what the end result was going to be.”

    In previous court appearances, lawyers for Mr Johnston told media his client was unable to give proper instructions due to his poor health behind bars.

    “It’s all signed instructions at this point because he’s obviously got a lot of damage. We’ve had very limited contact with him,” Johnston’s lawyer Farshad Sarabi told NCA NewsWire in July.