Young engineer charged with murder of mum who was allegedly set alight in her backyard by her ex-husband was ‘offered $1,000 to drive the accused killer to the scene’
- Workmate of Brian Earle Johnston is charged with Kelly Wilkinson’s murder
- Bradley Bell, 25, was charged by Queensland Police on Tuesday afternoon
- He was allegedly offered $1,000 to drive alleged killer to the scene
- Police will allege he assisted Johnston preparations for killing Ms Wilkinson
- The mother-of-three was found dead at home, having suffered serious burns
The ex-husband of Gold Coast mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson allegedly offered a workmate $1,000 to drive him to her house where he is accused of killing her by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight.
Bradley Bell, a 25-year-old colleague of ex Brian Earle Johnston, was arrested at a business in Coomera on Tuesday morning and charged with Ms Wilkinson’s murder.
His lawyer has said he will defend the charge.
Queensland Police will allege that Bell knew Johnston was planning to kill the mother-of-three and drove his colleague to Ms Wilkinson’s home on April 20.
Bell and Johnston allegedly stopped to fill up a jerry can of petrol on the way to Ms Wilkinson’s Arundel property that day, police will claim in court.
Bradley Bell, 25, has been charged with the murder of Kelly Wilkinson. He is a former workmate of Brian Earle Johnston, her ex-husband, and is accused of driving him to the property
Mother-of-three Kelly Wilkinson (above) was found dead at her Arundel, Gold Coast home on April 20, allegedly having been burned to death by her ex-husband
Bell fronted Southport Magistrates Court for a preliminary hearing on Wednesday where he was denied bail because the charges are extremely serious.
Chief Inspector Chris Ahearn said prosecutors will allege Bell knowingly helped murder Ms Wilkinson, by assisting Johnston in preparations.
‘We will allege he knew what the end result was going to be,’ Mr Ahearn told reporters on Tuesday.
They allege conversations between the pair were caught on CCTV at the hydraulics and engineering company they worked at.
Police did not confirm if money actually changed hands between Johnston and Bell.
Bell’s solicitor Basil Karsas told the ABC: ‘Our client is defending the charges and we are not in a position to comment any further.’.
Bell was interviewed by police shortly after Ms Wilkinson’s death. He provided a version of events but police have since ‘discounted’ his story, Mr Ahearn said.
Police chose to charge Bell with murder, rather than a lesser accessory charge.
Bell and Johnston’s former employer was shocked when Daily Mail Australia told him the news.
‘He hasn’t been with us for a couple of weeks,’ a staff member said. ‘You learn something new every day.’
Former U.S Marine engineer Brian Earle Johnston was charged with Ms Wilkinson’s murder earlier this year. He was refused bail after waking from a coma
A local resident sunk to her knees outside the Arundel crime scene following the incident in April
Johnston, from the US, and Wilkinson, above, are seen on their wedding day
Bell worked as a marine engineer and has been working on boats ‘all his life’.
Detectives don’t believe Bell knew Ms Wilkinson or her family, who have been briefed about the latest charge.
Johnston was charged with Ms Wilkinson’s horrific murder after spending ten days in a coma following the incident.
Johnston was found blocks away from the scene with serious burns.
Johnston was refused bail earlier this month, with his case still before the courts.
Both Bell and Johnston will appear in court again on October 15.