Mother of woman killed by husband calls for ‘common sense’ law changes

The mother of a woman bludgeoned to death by her husband more than 13 years ago has called for “common sense” law changes to be made to help protect victims.

Robert Brown killed his 46-year-old wife Joanna Simpson with a claw hammer in the family home in October 2010 as their two young children cowered in the playroom.

The killing was the subject of a recent two-part ITV documentary The British Airways Killer.

Ms Simpson’s mother Diana Parkes, who was made a CBE on Wednesday for services to vulnerable children suffering from domestic abuse and domestic homicide, vowed to fight “archaic laws” that allow perpetrators to “win all the time”.

Joanna Simpson
Joanna Simpson was killed by her husband in 2010 (Thames Valley Police/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “I’ve got so many ideas of where the law is wrong. For instance, how victims are treated when a murder or a killing has happened.

“The perpetrator wins all the time. Everything is for the perpetrator and the victim is always the victim.

“If and when [Brown] comes out of jail, we have given exclusion zones of where we don’t want him to come because we’re frightened of him. The children in particular.

“But we are not allowed to know where he is. We are not allowed to have a photograph of him. So, we are actually trapped in the exclusion zones because the minute we walk out we could bump straight into him.

“It’s so wrong. We’re going to try to get it changed. It’s terrible.

“Why can’t we know where he is? It’s common sense, isn’t it?”

Brown killed his millionaire wife one week before the finalisation of their divorce.

He buried her body in a pre-dug grave in Windsor Great Park before confessing to police the following day.

Diana Parkes is made a CBE by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle
Diana Parkes is made a CBE by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle (Aaron Chown/PA)

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

Mrs Parkes founded the Joanna Simpson Foundation in memory of her daughter.

The foundation focuses on raising awareness of the effects of domestic violence, offers services for advice and support to carers and young people, and focuses on understanding how best to help children in these circumstances.

Speaking at Windsor Castle on Wednesday, Mrs Parkes said she was “honoured” to have been made a CBE, but admitted it felt “bittersweet”.

She added: “Had [Joanna] not died, I wouldn’t have actually recognised the plight of children who are suffering from parents [experiencing] domestic abuse.

“When Jo was killed 13-and-a-half years ago, everybody knew domestic violence existed.

“But nobody spoke about it. It was brushed under the carpet. It was just ‘another domestic’.

“But ‘another domestic’ can lead to a killing like it did to my daughter. It’s got to be eradicated. It’s got to be recognised how absolutely terrible it is and how it’s going to affect generations going on.”