Family of Australian mother burnt to death by estranged partner say she repeatedly went to police before attack

Justice campaigners are stunned police will investigate their own alleged failings before a young mother was set on fire in the backyard of her Gold Coast home.

Kelly Wilkinson. Source: Gofundme

Kelly Wilkinson's devastated father Reg believes she would still be alive if Queensland Police had taken her repeated pleas for help seriously.

He and Kelly's three sisters say she repeatedly went to police in the weeks before she was killed, telling them she was in danger and that she was scared.

She even got domestic violence support workers to go to the police on her behalf to reiterate how fearful she was, police have admitted.

But none of those efforts saved her and she died in the back yard while her three young children were nearby.

Her estranged husband, former US Marine Brian Earl Johnston, remains in hospital with burns and has been charged with her murder.

He's also charged with breaching bail and police have said he was facing a range of other charges when he allegedly murdered his wife.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd, who heads Queensland Police's new domestic violence task force, has promised an internal police review to determine if any systemic failures contributed to the 27-year-old's death.

Police would never be able to prevent every domestic violence death, but any death was a failure.

"She engaged with the system, with us, and we were unable to prevent this from occurring," he said.

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News of the internal review has enraged Women's Legal Services Queensland, with CEO Angela Lynch demanding an independent investigation.

"There were numerous serious and direct warning signs of escalating violence. This should have been ringing deafening alarm bells," Lynch said today.

"The idea that the police should investigate this horrific failure of the system themselves is absurd."

She's also demanding an urgent review of bail laws after police revealed Johnston was given watch-house bail on the other charges he was facing. Those charges cannot be detailed for legal reasons.

Source: 1 NEWS

Police say they first learned of Wilkinson's fears about her safety in late March when she told officers of treatment that spanned "weeks, and months".

She twice went to police stations on or before April 11 and reached out to domestic violence support services, who contacted police on her behalf two days later.

Yesterday, police said they were not aware of reports support workers had arranged a second meeting to advocate for Wilkinson. She died before that could happen.

Wilkinson's family has also told of driving her to see the police almost "daily" as her fears escalated.

"This wasn't an accident. This wasn't the first time something's happened," sister Danielle Carroll told Seven News.

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State Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has already asked the domestic violence task force for recommendations on criminalising coercive control, due in October, and on reforming the justice system for women, due in March.

Federal Minister for Women's Safety Anne Ruston is open to talks with the states on nationally consistent rules to keep women safe "so that we don't keep having this conversation".

Wilkinson and Johnston married in the US before she left the relationship and resettled on the Gold Coast. Her estranged husband followed her.

Carroll said her sister had never had a driver's licence or access to money, and that she was finally starting to find her freedom before she died.

Carroll plans to raise her sister's three children, alongside her own five kids.

A Go Fund Me campaign to help the family pay for Wilkinson's funeral and other costs has so far raised more than AU$165,000 (NZ$177,600).