My friend’s evil killer should rot in jail… we begged PM to block his release

THE family of Joanna Simpson have called on the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to step up his commitment to reviewing her killer’s early release.

Founders of a foundation in Joanna’s name wrote to the PM last week to ask him to pile pressure on the new Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk to give the case his full attention.


Joanna Simpson was bludgeoned to death with a claw hammer in 2010 by her husband – who could soon be freed after serving just half his sentenceCredit: Dan Charity
Robert Brown buried Joanna in a pre-dug grave and shockingly, despite all this, he was only convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility


Robert Brown buried Joanna in a pre-dug grave and shockingly, despite all this, he was only convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibilityCredit: PA

Rishi is yet to respond to the plea – with the Joanna Simpson Foundation expressing their disappointment that progress has “stalled”.

Joanna’s killer, Robert Brown, has served just 13 years of his 26-year term and is up for automatic release on licence in November.

On Halloween in 2010, Brown battered 46-year-old Joanna to death just one week before the finalisation of their divorce.

But just over a decade after former British Airways pilot Brown, now 59, was put behind bars, Joanna’s family are once again living in fear as he is set to be released halfway through his sentence.

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Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, who was a close friend of Joanna and is now chair of domestic abuse charity Refuge, told The Sun: “Robert Brown is a dangerous man and his release would put Joanna’s family and women at risk, it must be stopped.

“Unfortunately all progress has stalled. We have written to the Prime Minister and the new Secretary of State for Justice, Alex Chalke, seeking their assurances that they will uphold Raab’s commitment for a review, and have yet to receive a reply.

“We were reassured by the former Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab’s commitment to review his case, but we’re eager to accelerate this review and have his release stopped.

“We ask for this commitment now – there is no time to waste and the risk of not doing so is significant and devastating.”

The campaign to stop his release is being led by Joanna’s mother Diana Parkes and has been backed by Carrie Johnson, wife of former PM Boris.

She told an event in Westminster earlier this year that she wants the case reviewed to “prevent another woman suffering the same fate as dear Jo.”

Back in 2010, Brown had hidden the claw hammer he used to kill Joanna in one of his children’s school bags when he came to drop them off at their home in Ascot, Berks.

Brown hit Joanna 14 times over the head within earshot of their two children, then bundled her lifeless body into the boot of his car.

This had followed a sustained period of domestic abuse which included coercive control, isolation, intimidation and severe violence. 

Brown buried Joanna in a pre-dug grave and shockingly, despite all this, he was only convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.

Joanna’s mother, Diana Parkes — who inspired Camilla, Queen Consort, to join her in a passionate campaign against domestic abuse — is asking, with considerable dignity, quite simply, that “the punishment fits the crime”. 

In February, Diana told The Sun that she is convinced Brown will find a way to hurt her and her grandchildren if released.

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She said: “I worry for everybody because this man is not safe. I think he will stop at nothing and we will be constantly looking over our shoulders. Let common sense please rule the day.

“This man is not fit to be let out. He should stay in jail for at least his full sentence.”

Dominic Raab pictured with Joanna Simpson's mum, Diana Parkes


Dominic Raab pictured with Joanna Simpson’s mum, Diana Parkes

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