The family of the woman murdered by her husband, who is due to be released later this year, has called on Dominic Raab to reconsider his release.
Robert Brown, a British Airways captain, bludgeoned his wife, 46-year-old Joanna, to death with a hammer at their family home in Ascot, Berkshire, in October 2010.
The couple’s two young children were huddled in the playroom when Brown, who believed he had been “stitched” by a prenuptial agreement, killed their mother. He dumped his wife’s body in a makeshift coffin in Windsor Great Park.
Brown was acquitted of murder by a jury at Reading Crown Court in May 2011, but had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.
He was sentenced to 24 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and another two years for the offense of obstruction of the coroner’s duties, and his release is scheduled for November this year.
Joanna’s mother, 83-year-old Diana Parkes, has expressed concern about Brown’s release from prison and is calling on the Justice Secretary to intervene.
“Our family is very scared. Not only to our family, but also to my daughter’s friends and the general public. I’m afraid for the women he might come into contact with,” she told the PA news agency.
Parkes, who hopes to appeal directly to Raab, added: “I would ask him to look very carefully at our case and see how absolutely pointless it is that Brown is released mid-sentence when the Probation Service is so understaffed.
“And I ask, who will monitor him for the 13 years of his license? I really don’t believe a probation officer will be able to do that.”
Brown drove to the home of his estranged wife to drop off the kids after the half-term break. With the children out of sight, he hit her with a hammer at least 14 times on the head.
He then wrapped his wife’s body in plastic, put a garbage bag over her head to “avoid leaving bloodstains”, and threw her into the car.
He took the children back home and drove his wife’s body to a makeshift coffin prepared at the Queen’s estate in Windsor Great Park.
“I just lost it. I just snapped and that’s it,” Brown told the court at the time. “I just blew and the next thing I remember I was standing over Jo and there was blood everywhere.”
Brown’s daughter later told police she heard her parents “beating each other”.
The Joanna Simpson Foundation asked people to send a letter to their MP asking them to prevent Brown’s release.
The charity is also planning an event in Westminster this week to kick off the campaign and call on the Justice Secretary to use his powers to stop Brown’s release.
Speakers at the event are expected to include: Joanna’s mother Diana Parkes, former Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, former Home Secretary Priti Patel Carrie Johnson and Joanna’s friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “This was a horrific crime and our thoughts remain with Joanna Simpson’s family and friends.
“The deputy prime minister will do everything in his power to keep the most dangerous criminals behind bars and has declared that he will devote the most attention to this matter.”