Carrie Johnson joins campaign for Joanna Simpson’s killer BA pilot husband who bludgeoned her to death with a claw hammer in 2010 within earshot of their children to stay behind bars
- Robert Brown, now 59, killed Joanna Simpson, 46, in her Ascot home in 2010
- He is due for release this November after serving 13 years for manslaughter
The wife of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined the campaign to keep Joanna Simpson’s husband, who bludgeoned her to death with a hammer within earshot of their children, behind bars.
Speaking this evening, Carrie Johnson said allowing the release of the former BA pilot just 13 years into his 26-year-sentence would be ‘a real failure in our system’.
Robert Brown, 59, battered estranged wife Ms Simpson to death with a claw hammer in 2010 after she filed for divorce following years of abuse.
He is due for automatic release in November after serving 13 years for manslaughter.
Mrs Johnson was joined by politicians including former Home Secretary Priti Patel and former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, who called on ministers to block Brown’s release.
(L-R) Priti Patel, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Carrie Johnson and Joanna Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes discuss the campaign to keep killer Robert Brown behind bars in Westminster on Wednesday
Ms Parkes (centre) has received the backing of former PM Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie (left) and is also supported in her campaign by her friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, chief of trustees at domestic violence charity Refuge
Joanna Brown, 46, was bludgeoned to death by her BA pilot husband in 2010, within earshot of their children
Mrs Johnson spoke bravely of her own experience in campaigning for black cab rapist John Worboys to remain in prison, after he drugged her when she was only 19.
She was drugged after he picked her up in his black cab after a night out with friends.
She blacked out and says she does not know what happened, but does not believe she was assaulted.
She was one of 14 women to give evidence against him in court, and later waived her right to anonymity to campaign against his proposed release.
Mrs Johnson said she had learned about Brown’s proposed release after meeting Mrs Parkes and Joanna’s friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton at an event at Buckingham Palace last year, organised by the Queen Consort.
Ms Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes fears Brown still poses a risk to her family and to the public, and has called on Dominic Raab to block his release.
Mr Raab this week agreed to meet personally with Ms Parkes about the case.
She said: ‘I remember Hetti and Diana describing themselves as feeling like “sitting ducks”, totally powerless to do anything.
‘I knew that feeling from my own experience, when I found out that taxi cab rapist, John Worboys, was due to be released from prison much earlier than expected, with no explanation as to why.
‘I won’t go into the details of that case but it was a similar injustice, a similar circumstance where the law was badly letting victims down and failing to do its job to protect women.’
Ms Parkes has learned Brown will be classed as a ‘critical public protection case’, meaning he has been assessed as posing a very high risk of serious harm.
Such offenders require high levels of monitoring after their release, but the Probation Service has warned it is struggling to cope with ‘unmanageable workloads’.
His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation, Justin Russell, said this month that staff shortages were ‘severely’ affecting the service’s ability to manage offenders, including ‘those who pose a serious threat to the public’.
She today met with former Home Secretary Priti Patel alongside Mrs Johnson and friend and chair of of trustees at domestic violence charity Refuge, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, as part of her push to keep the killer in prison.
Mrs Parkes, 84, fears former British Airways pilot Brown could threaten her family, and that he may pose a continued danger to women if he is released.
Airline pilot Robert Brown battered his estranged wife Joanna Simpson to death with a claw hammer within earshot of their two young children. Pictured: Joanna Simpson with her children Katie and Alex
Robert Brown, now 59, is due to be released this November after serving just 13 years of his 26-year-sentence
Ms Parkes is calling on Justice Secretary Dominic Raab to ‘do everything in his power’ to prevent the release of Brown
Speaking previously, Ms Parkes said: ‘Mr Raab has the power to review this case and help prevent the release of Brown in November. It is surely so clear that this would be the right thing to do. I hope and pray he will see sense and help me and my family.’
Former lord chancellor and solicitor general Sir Robert Buckland KC has said he is ‘deeply concerned’ about the case, and called on the Ministry of Justice to protect the public from dangerous offenders.
Ms Simpson, 46, had filed for divorce from Brown after enduring years of abuse, harassment and intimidation.
He is said to have threatened to kill her with a knife three years prior to the attack.
In October 2010, Brown drove to her home in Ascot, Berkshire, armed with a hammer and bludgeoned her at least 14 times, before wrapping her body in plastic sheeting and burying it in a grave he had previously dug in woodland in Windsor Great Park.
He was charged with murder and prosecutors argued the killing was a premeditated attack, but Brown said he had been suffering from ‘severe stress’ and ‘abnormality of mental function’ which had impaired his self-control.
The jury at Reading Crown Court acquitted him of murder and he was given a 26-year sentence for manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, which he had already admitted.
Mrs Simpson, 46, had filed for divorce from Brown after enduring years of abuse, harassment and intimidation
In October 2010, Brown drove to her home in Ascot, Berkshire, armed with a hammer and bludgeoned her at least 14 times, before wrapping her body in plastic sheeting and burying it in a grave he had previously dug in woodland in Windsor Great Park
Mrs Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes (pictured) fears Brown still poses a risk to her family and to the public, and has called on Dominic Raab to block his release
Ms Parkes, who raised her daughter’s children, has called for Brown, 59, to serve the full 26 years. She said: ‘There is a chronic shortage of probation officers, so how can he possibly be allowed out when no one can guarantee how he’ll be monitored? The reoffending statistics are alarming.
‘I am calling on our Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, to do everything in his power to prevent yet a further injustice by releasing Robert Brown early.’
Ms Simpson’s friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton has also called for Brown’s release to be blocked.
She said: ‘This man is a dangerous misogynist who has shown no evidence of remorse. He subjected Jo to years of abuse, stalking and coercive control before he killed her. Dominic Raab has the power to stop this release.’
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘This was an appalling crime and our thoughts remain with Joanna Simpson’s family and friends.
‘Mr Raab will do everything in his power to keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars and has pledged to give this case his closest personal attention.’
Mrs Parkes and Mrs Barkworth-Nanton set up the Joanna Simpson Foundation to help children affected by domestic violence. The charity has received support from the Queen Consort, who has campaigned to highlight the threat of domestic abuse.
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