Justice secretary vows to keep relatives of mother killed by British Airways captain safe as they battle to try and block his release – but refuses to say he will veto parole
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has vowed to keep the family of a mother killed by her husband safe as they desperately battle to block his release – but has refused to say if he will veto parole.
Joanna Simpson was killed by British Airways captain Robert Brown at their family home in October 2010.
He was acquitted of murder, having admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Brown is now due to be released on licence in November after serving 13 years of a 26-year sentence because the lesser charge means he will not face a Parole Board.
Mr Chalk agreed to meet Ms Simpson’s family earlier this year to discuss Brown’s release.
Joanna Simpson (pictured) was killed by her husband in a brutal bludgeoning in October 2010
British Airways captain Robert Brown (pictured) was acquitted of murder, having admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He is now due to be released on licence in November after serving 13 years of a 26-year sentence
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, pictured outside the BBC this morning, said he will keep the family safe
The Justice Secretary told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: ‘It was one of the first meetings I had as Justice Secretary and it was so, so appalling to hear what happened, I found it personally very painful to hear.
‘What I said is I will do everything I will do everything I properly can within the law to keep the British people safe and to ensure there is justice in this case.
‘There is not much more I can properly say because there is a danger that frankly you prejudge issues.
‘But the family have my word and Hetti, her friend, has my word, we will do everything we can to keep her safe and to ensure there is justice in her case.’
Ms Simpson’s friend, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, who is also chairwoman of Refuge, the largest domestic abuse charity in the UK, said ahead of the meeting that Mr Chalk was the ‘one man on the planet’ who can stop her friend’s killer from being released.
Ms Simpson’s mother, Diana Parks, meanwhile stressed that Brown is ‘not fit to be released, and that he should stay in prison for as long as possible’.
Brown, formerly of Winkfield, Berkshire, 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.
He killed his wife as their two young children cowered in a playroom, before dumping her body in a makeshift coffin in Windsor Great Park.
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