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Robert Brown: Man who killed wife Joanna Brown with claw hammer to be released in less than two months

A man who killed his wife with a hammer will be released from prison in less than two months, his victim's family and friends have been told.

British Airways captain Robert Brown bludgeoned Joanna Simpson to death with a claw hammer in October 2010 as their two young children cowered in a playroom.

Brown then dumped the 46-year-old's body in a makeshift coffin in Windsor Great Park.

He was acquitted of murder by a jury at Reading Crown Court in May 2011, but was jailed having previously admitted manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.

Brown 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 is due to be released on licence the week of 6 November, Ms Simpsons' family have been told, after serving 13 years of a 26-year sentence because the lesser charge means he will not face a Parole Board.

Ms Simpson's family and friends say they are still waiting to hear whether Justice Secretary Alex Chalk will step in and block the automatic release.

Mr Chalk has previously vowed to Ms Simpson's family to do "everything" to keep the public safe.

They will meet the justice secretary in October.

'A dangerous killer'

Hetti Barkworth-Nanton, Ms Simpson's best friend, said: "Whilst the justice secretary has pledged to ensure there is justice in this case and that the British public are kept safe, it's more important than ever that a dangerous killer is not released onto our streets.

"There cannot be another Jo."

Diana Parkes, Ms Simpson's mother, said: "Action needs to be taken to block Robert Brown's automatic release after only serving 13 years of his 26-year sentence in prison.

"His release poses a great risk to family and friends of Joanna Simpson [and] also the wider public, especially women. He is a critical public protection case.

"Reliving my daughter's brutal killing at the hands of Brown is emotionally exhausting. No mother should lose a child in such appalling circumstances. We all live in great fear.

"However we know that it is the only way to ensure that the justice secretary fully understands how dangerous Brown is. Therefore, we urgently call on the Lord Chancellor to keep the public safe by stepping in to block his release and keep him behind bars."

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: "Joanna Simpson was brutally killed in a cowardly, senseless attack and needlessly taken from her family.

"The Lord Chancellor met with her loved ones in May and, as he reiterated on Sunday, will continue to give the case his close personal attention."