Robert Brown: pilot case explained, is Joanna Simpson killer being released early, what has Dominic Raab said?

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has said he would ‘of course’ meet Joanna’s family to discuss the case

The mother of a woman killed by her husband has said her family is concerned about the possibility of his release - and has called on the Justice Secretary to look into the case.

In October 2010, British Airways captain Robert Brown killed his 46-year-old wife Joanna in their home while their two young children hid in the playroom.

Diana Parkes, Joanna's 83-year-old mother, is concerned about Brown's impending release from prison, which she believes will happen in November of this year.

Parkes wants to talk to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, and said: “I would ask him to check our case very carefully and see how absolutely nonsensical it is that Brown is bring released halfway through his sentence when the Probation Service is so understaffed.”

She has expressed concern that Brown would be labelled a "critical public protection case" and would need intense supervision at a time when the Probation Service has warned it is having trouble keeping up with current workloads.

She added: “I ask who is going to monitor him for 13 years of his licence? I really have no faith in the Probation Service being able to do this.” Here is everything you need to know about it.

How long was Brown’s sentence?

Thames Valley Police handout file photo of Joanna Simpson (Photo: PA Media)Thames Valley Police handout file photo of Joanna Simpson (Photo: PA Media)
Thames Valley Police handout file photo of Joanna Simpson (Photo: PA Media)

After years of abuse, harassment, and intimidation, Joanna filed for divorce, and the couple was involved in a legal dispute over their financial affairs at the time of hear death.

Brown was acquitted of murder by a jury at Reading Crown Court in May 2011. He had previously admitted manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility; he reportedly felt “stitched up” by their prenuptial agreement.

A former resident of North Street in Winkfield, Berkshire, Brown received a sentence of 24 years for manslaughter and an additional two years for obstructing a coroner in the execution of his duty.

But Diana Parkes, Joanna’s 83-year-old mother, is concerned about Brown's upcoming release from prison, which she believes will take place in November of this year. “Our family is very fearful. Not only our family, but my daughter’s friends and indeed the public at large. I fear for women that he might come into contact with,” she said.

The Joanna Simpson Foundation is holding an event in Westminster this week to launch its campaign and urge Raab to use his powers to help prevent Brown’s release. Speakers are expected to include Parkes, Robert Buckland, Priti Patel, Carrie Johnson, and Joanna’s friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton.

What has Raab said?

Raab has since said that he would "very rigorously" examine the parole case. Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, the Justice Secretary said he would "of course" meet the family.

“Within the powers I’ve got, I’ll look at this as I would any other - very rigorously,” he said. He added that he was unable to comment on whether he would prevent Brown's release, but said parole decisions were "exceptionally carefully" considered.

“And I’ve also been clear, I don’t think the parole service powers are adequate at the moment, which is why we’ll be bringing forward legislation to reform that - I hope that’s something which will have widespread support,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Joanna Simpson Foundation said: “We are very pleased that the Justice Secretary has agreed to meet Joanna’s family so that they can explain in their own words what they feel has gone so wrong in this case.

”We are confident that when Mr Raab is presented with all the facts he will agree with us that all action needs to be taken to prevent the release of Robert Brown.”