On Tuesday 28th March, MP for Windsor, Adam Afriyie, asked the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab, about the planned release of Robert Brown from prison on license.
Adam Afriyie MP (Conservative, Windsor): Thank you for your generosity in allowing me to ask this question, Mr Speaker. My constituent Joanna Brown, a wife, mother of two children and daughter of loving parents, was brutally murdered in my constituency back in 2010. Her husband was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to 24 years. Sadly, it seems that he will be let out on licence in November. May I urge the Justice Secretary to ask the parole board to question whether such offenders should come out of prison?
Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Justice & Lord Chancellor): My hon. Friend raises a terrible and tragic case. He knows that I recently met Joanna’s mother, Diana Parkes, and Joanna’s closest friend Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, who are co-founders of the Joanna Simpson Foundation. They have shown inspirational courage through their grief. I assured them, and I am happy to assure the House, that I will give Mr Brown’s case my closest personal attention. There will be maximum rigour in assessing risk to determine whether to use the new power given to me by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022. I am happy to arrange for my hon. Friend to meet the relevant Minister if that is useful.
Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor, said:
“The brutal murder of Joanna Simpson, by her husband, Robert Brown, in my constituency in 2010 was tragic and deeply shocking, made even more so be the fact that Brown was able to avoid a murder conviction, instead being sent to prison for manslaughter. The prospect of his release on license this coming November has caused great concern amongst many of my constituents, who have written to me to express their concerns, as well as Joanna’s family and friends. There is great anxiety over the implications for public safety of his planned release, as well as questions over the ability of the already-overstretched probation service to effectively monitor Brown during his period of license.
That is why I am pleased that the Secretary of State for Justice has said he will assess the use of new powers under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 to potentially refer Brown’s release back to the parole board.
In addition, I am encouraged by new provisions in the Government’s Victims and Prisoners Bill, which will make it far more difficult for dangerous criminals like Brown to be released. As well as giving ministers the power to veto the parole of the most serious offenders, including murderers, rapists and terrorists, it will also put a new release test into law, ensuring that public safety is prioritised when prisoner release decisions are made.”