‘British Airways killer’: Man who killed wife Joanna Simpson with claw hammer loses bid for freedom | UK News

A man who killed his wife with a hammer more than 13 years ago has lost his bid for freedom.

British Airways captain Robert Brown bludgeoned 46-year-old Joanna Simpson to death in their family home in October 2010 as their two young children cowered in a playroom.

Brown then dumped the 46-year-old’s body in a makeshift coffin in Windsor Great Park.

The killing was the subject of a new ITV documentary The British Airways Killer.

Who is the ‘British Airways killer’, Robert Brown, who killed Joanna Simpson?

Robert Brown. Pic: PA
Robert Brown. Pic: PA

Brown’s High Court challenge against a government move to block his automatic release from prison was dismissed by Mr Justice Ritchie today.

He had claimed “political motivation” amid a media campaign against his release improperly contributed to a decision to refer his case to the Parole Board.

His lawyers argued at a hearing in London earlier this month that Justice Secretary Alex Chalk’s referral was unlawful.

Brown was cleared of murder after a trial, but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, with a psychiatric report saying he suffered from an “adjustment disorder”.

Brown was sentenced to 24 years for manslaughter and a further two years for an offence of obstructing a coroner in the execution of his duty.

Aged 47 at sentencing in 2011, Brown believed he was “stitched up” by a prenuptial agreement and was affected by stress linked to his divorce, a judge was told.

He was due to be automatically freed on licence halfway through his sentence in November last year, but Ms Simpson’s friends and family urged Mr Chalk to intervene.

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Brown ‘a danger to anybody he came in contact with’

Referral overrides automatic release

In October last year, Mr Chalk used new powers to have Brown’s case reviewed by the Parole Board.

Brown’s lawyers argued the referral was “an obvious attempt to seek to reverse engineer justification for a decision that was in reality prompted and obtained through conscious or unconscious political bias”.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) rejected his allegations, arguing the minister “in no way seeks to ‘go behind’ or ‘disapply’ or ‘fail to respect’ the sentencing court’s decision”.

Lawyers for the department said Mr Chalk believed Brown “would pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public if released on licence”, adding the offender had “persistently refused to engage in the rehabilitative elements of his sentence”.

Mr Chalk’s referral overrode Brown’s automatic release.

‘He must be kept in prison’

Ms Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes, who was made a CBE in December for services to vulnerable children suffering from domestic abuse and domestic homicide, said the decision was the “right one”.

She added: “Brown committed the most horrific crime against my loving and caring daughter, Jo. He must be kept in prison.”