You try to get the images out of your head of the person you loved, cuddled and kissed being beaten to death with a hammer
It was a harrowing and distressing trial. Robert Brown, an apparently charming and dashing British Airways pilot, was accused of murdering his beautiful, estranged wife Joanna by bludgeoning her to death with a claw hammer at her home in October last year and then burying her in a box. Aside from the sickening brutality of the killing, one of the most disturbing aspects of the case was the fact that the Browns’ two young children had heard the attack and then witnessed their father carrying their 46-year-old mother’s body to his car. During the course of the trial, Brown, 47, was portrayed by his legal team as an essentially good man driven over the edge by a wealthy and manipulative woman during a bitter divorce battle.
The jury appeared to accept this version of events when Brown was last week cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The verdict drew gasps of disbelief from the public gallery and howls of anguish from Joanna’s family and friends. Brown merely grinned and nodded to the jury. Andy Wilson was repulsed but not entirely surprised. As Joanna’s boyfriend, he was all too familiar with the two sides of Robert Brown: the accomplished pilot that his colleagues knew; and the vicious, controlling man consumed by jealousy that his wife and her family saw. ‘In court, Rob presented himself as being under enormous stress, bullied by this horrible, rich ex-wife. The truth is exactly the opposite,’ says Andy.