Search icon


27th Feb 2024

Viewers left with blood boiling after learning of British Airways killer case in new ITV doc

Joseph Loftus

The killer has served 13 years of a 26-year sentence.

ITV viewers have been left sick to their stomachs after learning about the infamous British Airways killer.

The terrifying true story visited in last night’s ITV documentary, The British Airways Killer, focusses on pilot, Robert Brown, and his millionairess wife, Joanna Simpson.

Amid a costly divorce battle, following a long period of domestic abuse, Brown beat Joanna to death with a claw hammer at their family home.

He then buried her body in a prepared grave.

To the shock of the nation, and viewers of last night’s documentary, the British Airways captain was sensationally cleared of the murder, having admitted manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

Currently, Brown has served 13 years of a 26-year sentence.

The two-part documentary follows Joanna’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation into her death.

The doc features interviews with Joanna’s mum, Diana Parkes, and her friends, who talk about the moment they realised Brown was not all he seemed.

Joanna’s friend, Hetti Barkworth-Nanton says in the doc: “She [Joanna] said to me, and I’ve heard it from so many victims subsequently, that ‘His eyes went dark, almost black, cold, dark, black eyes.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to do it’. So she was saying, you know, ‘What will happen to the children?’ He didn’t care about what would happen to the children.”

After Joanna told Brown she wanted to end their marriage, Ms Barkworth-Nanton says, “She genuinely believed that he was going to kill her, she was of no doubt whatsoever.”

Naturally viewers of the documentary have been left with their blood boiling.

Talking about the moment she was first called about Joanna’s disappearance, her mum Ms Parkes said: “A friend rang and said, ‘Have you spoken to Jo this morning?’ And I said ‘no’, and he said, ‘I’ve had a worrying call…’ I was told there’s police tape around the house, and I just said, ‘He’s killed her.’ I just said that straight away, ‘He’s killed her.'”

Brown later admitted to manslaughter and was cleared of murder after claiming he was suffering from adjustment disorder due to the divorce.

The judge, however, Mr Justice Cooke, handed down one of the harshest prison terms for manslaughter available to him.

Read next: