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Dominic Raab agrees to meet family of Joanna Simpson to hear their fears that her killer husband could be released from prison after just 13 years
- Robert Brown is due for release after serving just 13 years of a 26-year sentence
- Brown, 59, killed his estranged wife Joanna Simpson in Ascot in October 2010
Justice Secretary Dominic Raab will meet a grieving mother over her fears that her daughter’s killer could be released from prison, he said yesterday.
The Deputy Prime Minister agreed he would consider pleas to block the automatic release of former British Airways pilot Robert Brown ‘very rigorously’.
Brown, 59, is due for release later this year after serving just 13 years of a 26-year sentence for the killing of his estranged wife Joanna Simpson.
Her mother Diana Parkes told Saturday’s Daily Mail of her fears that he could still pose a threat to her family and to other women, and called for him to remain behind bars.
Her campaign won support from former Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove, who said Brown should never be released.
Brown (pictured), 59, is due for release later this year after serving just 13 years of a 26-year sentence for the killing of his estranged wife Joanna Simpson
Brown bludgeoned his estranged wife Joanna to death within earshot of their two young children. Pictured: Joanna Brown with her children Katie and Alex
Mrs Parkes will take her campaign to Westminster this week, when she will meet MPs including former home secretary Priti Patel and former lord chancellor and solicitor general Sir Robert Buckland.
She will urge Mr Raab to use his powers to block Brown’s release, and is expected to be supported by Carrie Johnson, the wife of former prime minister Boris Johnson.
Brown bludgeoned his estranged wife Joanna to death with a claw hammer in their former marital home in Ascot, Berkshire, in October 2010, within earshot of their two young children.
He wrapped her lifeless body in a plastic sheet and dumped it in a grave he had previously dug in thick woodland in Windsor Great Park.
Ms Simpson had filed for divorce after years of abuse, harassment and intimidation and the pair were embroiled in a legal battle over their financial affairs, with Brown said to feel he was ‘stitched up’ by their prenuptial agreement.
He was acquitted of murder but admitted manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility, and said he was suffering from a stress-related ‘adjustment disorder’.
Ms Simpson had filed for divorce after years of abuse, harassment and intimidation
Mrs Parkes said he would be due for automatic release in November, after serving half his sentence, and called on Mr Raab to intervene.
She raised fears that he would be classed as a ‘critical public protection case’ and would require a high level of monitoring, at a time when the Probation Service has warned it is struggling to cope with existing workloads.
Mrs Parkes said it would be ‘absolutely nonsensical’ for Brown to be released, adding: ‘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.’
Releasing former BA pilot Robert Brown halfway through his 26-year sentence for the premeditated killing of his estranged wife, Joanna Simpson, would be a deeply flawed decision.
So the Mail welcomes the fact that the Justice Secretary has agreed to discuss it with Joanna’s mother.
But he must go further and block Brown’s release.
A mere 13 years in jail for such a hideous crime insults not just the victim, but all women.
She went on: ‘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.’
Mr Raab was asked about the case by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg and agreed to meet Mrs Parkes. He said: ‘My job is always to put victims first, so of course I will meet her.’
He went on: ‘With the powers I have got, I would look at this as I would look at any other, very rigorously.’
A spokesman 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.’
Last week Mrs Simpson’s friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, who chairs the charity Refuge, said Brown was ‘a dangerous misogynist who has shown no evidence of remorse’.
On Friday, a Ministry of Justice spokesman said Mr Rabb ‘will do everything in his power to keep the most dangerous offenders behind bars’.
Joanna Simpson’s family are urging people to write to their MP calling for Brown to remain in jail. Details can be found by searching jsfoundation.org.uk/call-to-action
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