HAMMER killer Robert Brown will be back on our streets in a few weeks time unless the Justice Secretary intervenes and blocks his release.
Joanna Simpson’s family have been told that Brown will be let out of jail in the week starting November 6 after serving just 13 years for bludgeoning her to death within earshot of their two young children.
Hammer killer Robert Brown will be back on our streets in a few weeks time unless the Justice Secretary intervenes[/caption]
Brown bludgeoned Joanna Simpson to her to death within earshot of their two young children[/caption]
Jo’s mum Diana Parkes and best friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton met with Alex Chalk[/caption]
He is eligible for automatic release half way through his 26-year term meaning he could walk free regardless of how much of a threat to the public he is deemed to be.
Time is running out for the Secretary of State for Justice Alex Chalk to take action and use the power he has to keep him behind bars.
Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 Chalk can refer automatic release cases to the Parole Board where there are reasonable grounds that the prisoner would “pose a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm”.
Brown killed his estranged wife Jo on Halloween 2010 by hitting her at least 14 times with a hammer he had brought into her home in one of their childrens’ homework bags.
Alex, then ten, and nine-year-old Katie, were next door in the playroom when their dad launched the horrifying attack after forcing his way into the house while dropping them off.
Katie later told her grandmother Diana Parkes that she heard the “thump, thump, thump” of the hammer hitting her mum.
British Airways pilot Brown then went on to bury 46-year-old Jo in a pre-dug grave in Windsor Great Park nearby to where the children used to play in a den.
She told The Sun: “When I was told that he will be released in November I felt physically sick. It suddenly feels very real and tangible.
“As long as we sit here without a decision by Alex Chalk we have to prepare for the worst.
“Frankly, we are terrified. This is a man who dug a grave over many weeks and months to the precise dimensions of a plastic box which he had lined to stop any blood or fluid from running out. At no point when he was doing that did he think ‘this is wrong’.
“This is a man who stood up in court during his trial and said that his plan after killing Jo was to turn up to work, fly his plane to Lagos, and crash it on the way in order to kill everybody on board and make a statement to the world. And yet, he’s going to be let out.
“He has never shown any remorse for what he did, not even to his children.”
Hetti, 56, plans to get security experts round to her house to ensure it is as safe as possible because she fears Brown will target her once he is out of prison.
Joanna’s mum Diana, 83, has already installed motion sensor lights outside her home on the Isle of Man, where Katie and Alex went to live with her after Jo’s death, so she will know if someone tries to walk up the driveway.
On Sunday, Hetti was name-checked by Chalk when he spoke about the case in a TV interview and promised to “do everything I properly can within the law to keep the British people safe and to ensure there is justice”.
She first met Jo when her own daughter Alice was invited to Katie’s third birthday party and the two mums became friends almost instantly.
“Jo was in the kitchen at Tun Cottage and was very smiley and welcoming,” Hetti said. “She offered me a glass of wine and we were best friends from then on.
“We would go on holiday with the children, we would be round at each other’s houses, we would go on walks with the kids, at Easter we would do easter egg hunts for the kids.
“We went camping together which was fun and funny because neither of us knew how to put a tent up.”
Brown, who was often away for work with British Airways, often appeared resentful towards his wife’s social life.
Hetti recalls that Brown was controlling towards Jo and often took steps to undermine her.
He would check the burglar alarm log from when he was away for work and confront Jo as to why she had been out late or had been away from the house.
One night in February 2007 Hetti sat with Jo while Brown told her down the phone that he had taken some pills and was having “dark thoughts” of killing her and their children with an axe.
Hetti said: “She was a confident, vivacious woman. But he had spent years trying to chip away at that.
“That was very typical for coercive control. It’s that drip drip drip of eroding the confidence of the victim then as things progress they will start to slip in the threats of violence.”
In July 2007 the threats escalated and Brown held a kitchen knife to Jo.
After that Jo refused to stay in the house alone with him and started divorce proceedings.
When Brown fatally attacked Jo three years later, a landmark supreme court case had just ruled that prenuptial agreements would be valid in UK divorce cases, meaning he would not receive half of Jo’s assets after their separation.
During a ten-day trial in 2011, Brown argued that he had suffered a momentary lapse of judgement and was suffering from adjustment disorder, a stress-related condition.
To the horror of Joanna’s family, he was cleared of murder and given a 26-year sentence for manslaughter despite evidence it was premeditated.
Now just 13 years later they are facing the very real prospect of him turning up at their door unless the Justice Secretary takes action.
Hetti said: “Robert Brown is a narcissist and he wants to win at any cost.
“Speaking as the Chair of Refuge, how can I possibly stand by and let a dangerous man like this out on the streets to build relationships with other women and potentially do the same thing again?
“Day in, day out at Refuge we are battling with scarce resources for the women who so desperately need our help.”
Hetti and Diana have submitted a bundle of supporting evidence to the Ministry of Justice to support a review into Brown’s case.
They have asked for a face-to-face meeting with Chalk to be told the result – but are yet to receive confirmation that this will happen.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Joanna Simpson was brutally killed in a cowardly, senseless attack and needlessly taken from her family.
“The Lord Chancellor met with her loved ones in May and, as he reiterated last Sunday, will continue to give the case his close personal attention.”