Byline: David Wilkes
A BRITISH Airways pilot wept yesterday as he apologised to relatives of his wealthy wife for battering her to death in a frenzied attack which he claims he cannot remember.
Robert Brown, 47, slumped over in the witness stand and held his head in his hands to say an anguished 'sorry' to members of millionairess Joanna's family watching his trial for her murder from the public gallery.
He said he 'lost it' after his estranged wife made him feel like an idiot when they rowed as he dropped their son of nine and their 11 year-old daughter off at her house after they had been staying with him.
Brown claims the attack, during which he hit her at least 14 times with a claw hammer causing 40 injuries, happened in the hallway of her [pounds sterling]3million mansion after he had grown increasingly angry and frustrated over their bitter divorce proceedings, which had dragged on for three years. He claims he was 'stitched up' by a prenuptial agreement, that Joanna 'deliberately concealed the extent of her wealth' and that her lawyers were harassing him on an almost daily basis and had 'destroyed' his family.
Reliving the attack as he gave evidence at Reading Crown Court yesterday, Brown said he had awoken that day feeling that his troubles were 'never going to an end'.
He claimed he had picked up the hammer from his shed on impulse and put it in a bag with the children's homework before driving them to Joanna's Ascot home in Berkshire. Once there, he explained to her that their son had hurt his eye in an accident and needed some medication but when he went to look for it in the bag it was not there.
Brown told the jury: 'She said you better go and get it. It was the way she said it, like you stupid idiot. It stopped me short. I turned round and walked away. That's when I just lost it. I just burst, that's it, I just burst. And I can't remember what I did at that moment.
'I blew and the next thing I remem-ber I'm standing over Jo and she's bleeding... I just don't know what happened. That portion is a blank to me.' He denied going there with the intention of injuring Joanna, 46, then collapsed in tears and said to Joanna's mother Diana Parks 'I'm really sorry', then to Joanna's brother James Parks: 'I'm sorry, I feel your pain. …