The Pilot, the Prenup and the Murdered Millionairess


There's a murder case holding the public captive in the United Kingdom unlike anything family attorneys in Pasadena have ever seen. Prosecutors contend that British Airways pilot Robert Brown murdered his wife, Joanna Brown, after resenting a constricting prenuptial agreement that kept him from seeing a dime of his wife's massive fortune.

Prosecutor Graham Reeds told a courtroom in England last week that Mr. Brown had felt he was "stitched up" by a marriage contract he signed when he married Joanna in 1999. Reeds also told the officials at Reading Crown Court the agreement had caused Robert Brown "continuing resentment." In 2007, the Browns' relationship had started to crumble. The former couple was thrust into a divorce Reeds described as "acrimonious and bitterly contested."

"First there were disputes over children and then over money," he also told the court. Reeds went on to describe the deteriorating nature of Mr. Brown's well-being and his growing desire to get even with his ex-wife whom he believed to have cheated him out of money. "He thought she had deliberately concealed the extent of her wealth and had conducted the divorce proceedings through her lawyers with lies, exaggeration and aggression."

According to Reeds, Robert Brown thought he was being unfairly treated because of the prenuptial agreement.

"It was an agreement that the defendant referred to later as a 'stitch-up' and he particularly resented the thought that Jo and her lawyers intended to rely on that agreement to foist on him what he thought was a particularly unfair settlement in the divorce proceedings," said Mr. Reeds.

The court was also made aware of several threats Robert Brown had made to his wife. In a harrowing email, Brown warns Joanna, "What goes around comes around."

Brown maintains his innocence but the prosecutors believe they have a solid case.

"It is, in a nutshell, the Crown's case that he murdered his ex-wife on October 31 (last year) and that he took her body, having murdered her, to Windsor Great Park and buried her in a grave with the intention that her body would not be found."