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Mum of Joanna Simpson talks of her killer’s release


Mum of Joanna Simpson talks of her killer’s release

“I don’t really know but I hope he comes to kill me first so that all my family and Hetti and Belinda and in fact women in general will be safe…”

The mum of Joanna Simpson, who was killed by her BA pilot husband, appeared on Good Morning Britain today and said she fears for her family’s safety if he is released from prison early. Joanna’s best friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton also appeared and said she’s terrified of an early release.

Robert Brown was acquitted of murder by a jury in 2011, but was jailed having previously admitted manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility. A new two-part ITV documentary, The British Airways Killer, will explore the police investigation into Joanna’s death.

Joanna’s mum Di Parkes told GMB hosts Susanna Reid and Richard Madeley she fears Robert Brown’s potential release from prison half way through serving his 26-year manslaughter conviction.

“We fear his release because he’s dangerous and it certainly wasn’t manslaughter, it was premeditated all the way through. He dug the hole where he put the garden box many months before and it was so carefully planned,” she said.

Richard asked Di what she thinks he might do and she said, “I don’t really know but I hope he comes to kill me first so that all my family and Hetti and Belinda and in fact women in general will be safe because he’s a psychopath in my opinion. Unfortunately, when he took a knife to my daughter in 2007, he told her that he’d hated her family for the eight years they were married.”

Susanna told Di that her saying she would die first to protect her family was ‘jaw-dropping’ and Di replied, “I mean it because I am going to be 85 in May. I’ve lived my life and my family… I’m fearful. My granddaughter, my grandson, my son, and his family. We’re all terrified.

“He certainly should be serving his 26-year sentence and in fact now, he would have been serving two thirds of that, but 12 years ago it was sadly half. If he killed me, he would be sent to prison for a whole lifetime, really.”

Richard asked Di why she thought the jury convicted him of manslaughter rather than murder and Di said, “I fear the chilling clip of my granddaughter speaking to the police the day after her mother disappeared was not shown in court. Had that been shown in court, I can tell you it would have been a different verdict. It shows my granddaughter being interviewed by the police and crying. I never wanted to see it again after listening to it.”

Joanna’s best friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton joined Susanna and Richard in the studio and said “Di and I have talked about this, I totally understand it. It’s where you get to when you are faced with the sheer terror of a man like that, being out and around… we’re terrified and I’d always hoped that terror was a bit inflated. 

“But in the court two weeks ago, the Ministry of Justice demonstrated that over the course of the 13 years in prison, he has consistently shown himself with narcissistic behaviours, with superiority over all professionals, he’s never engaged in any rehabilitation programmes, in any healthy relationship programmes. He has instead focused his energy on victim blaming Jo and grievance against Jo’s mother, family, her children and friends.”

Good Morning Britain weekdays from 6am on ITV1 & ITVX

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