The mother of a woman who was brutally bludgeoned to death by her estranged husband has said she’s ‘so relieved’ that the UK government has blocked her killer’s release.

Joanna Simpson, 46, who grew up in the Isle of Man, was brutally killed by her spouse, Robert Brown, while their two young children were in a nearby room.

Brown stashed her body in the boot of his car before ripping out the CCTV and telephone cables at the family home.

He then told the children to get into the car, dropped them off at his pregnant girlfriend’s home before dumping Joanna’s body in a grave he had spent months digging in Windsor Great Park.

In a trial that took place in 2011, former British Airways pilot Robert Brown was acquitted of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The jury accepted the defence’s case that Brown had suffered from ‘adjustment disorder’, a temporary mental illness that he blamed for the attack.

He was found guilty of manslaughter and was given a 26 year sentence.

Robert Brown (Thames Valley Police)

Following a fierce campaign headed up by family and friends of Joanna Simpson, UK Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk, informed them this week that he would block Brown’s automatic release which was set to be November this year.

Mr Chalk, who is also responsible for the Isle of Man as a Crown Dependency, said he had referred the case to the parole board under public protection powers.

Under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act brought in in 2022, the Justice Secretary has discretionary powers to detain prisoners.

They can also refer individuals serving a standard determinate sentence to the Parole Board to consider whether the prisoner is safe to be released.

Ms Simpson’s mother, Diana Parkes, who lives in the island, told the Courier: ‘We are relieved and delighted but until Brown goes before the Parole Board and they do not release him we cannot relax.

‘We are really emotionally exhausted

‘We have worked so hard with the campaign and it has paid off.

‘We were praying for this decision but when we received it we felt stunned because Alex Chalk, the Justice Secretary, has completely understood how dangerous Brown is.

‘A prominent lawyer has told me that this is classed as one of the worst cases of miscarriage of justice.

‘Robert Brown had no regard for his children’s welfare in the moments he was killing their mother.

Joanna Simpson

‘He told the Caffcass Officer when visiting him in jail, before the trial, he would tell the children why he killed their mother when he was released and showed no remorse.

‘The children do not want anything to do with him ever again.

‘We would like to thank the Justice Secretary, the media and, of course. The public who have helped our campaign to reach this amazing day.’

Alex Chalk said: ‘Joanna Simpson was bludgeoned and buried at the hands of Robert Brown, which left two children without a mother and caused irreparable harm to her family and loved ones.

‘I made a commitment to Joanna’s family that I would give this case my closest personal attention.

‘Having reviewed all the information available to me, I have blocked Brown’s automatic release and referred this case to the Parole Board using powers we introduced to protect the public from the most dangerous offenders.’