“YOU must never leave your job or get a boyfriend” a killer told his victim two months before stabbing, her a court has heard.

David Browning made the chilling threat to his boss Jillian Howell when he had dinner at her home in Sandgate Road, Brighton, two months before he stabbed her 15 times, a jury heard.

“Selfless” University of Brighton payroll manager Ms Howell had spoken to friends and family about the employee she was trying to support.

Her friend Russell Nall told Browning’s murder trial that she had spoken to him about a man at work called David who she had been trying to counsel through depression.

He said: “David had visited her at her home. David had said to her she must never leave the university or get a boyfriend and she must concentrate on supporting him.

“I asked if this was a statement as a joke or in a fit of tears. It was not. This was something he said in a very matter of fact fashion. He was very serious about this.

“She expressed disappointment in what he had said to her. She had put a lot of work into trying to support him professionally and out of her own compassion.

“She felt it was wrong of him to try to manipulate her.

“She felt let down that he would try to take advantage of the professional help and kindness she had offered.”

Mr Nall said he had worked with Ms Howell as a Samaritans volunteer for ten years and they had been good friends for four.

Mr Nall said he went to the police voluntarily to tell them about the conversations they had after hearing she had been killed.

He told officers that Ms Howell had spoken to him about her colleague “David” on June 18, August 20 and September 17.

Graham Trembath, for Browning and cross examining Mr Nall, said the defendant denied ever saying she must never leave the university of get a boyfriend.

Mr Nall said he was convinced those were the exact words said to him by his friend.

He added: “Knowing Jill as I did and how she led a happy and independent life, she was visibly disappointed and anxious when he relayed that information to her.

“Hearing that from her it left a marked impression on me.”

Browning, 51, of Willow Drive, Seaford, had admitted manslaughter by diminished responsibility, claiming he was suffering a brain abnormality caused by depression. He denies murder.

Selfless Jillian Howell told friends and family about her hopes of supporting troubled David Browning. 
Ms Howell’s nephew Adam Kish told the court in a statement that his aunt was a “kind, loving and selfless person.” 
He added: “She would go out of her way to help anyone. That’s just the person she was.
“Jill told me about a man in her team who was having difficulties in his personal life. 
“She said she was going to invite him over for dinner to try to cheer him up.” 
Ms Howell’s best friend of 24 years Claire Taylor said she had spoken about a colleague suffering depression, adding: “She was adamant she could help him and was not interested in him in any other way. 
“Jill had had periods of low mood. She particularly struggled when her dad died a few years ago. 
“In recent times she seemed happy and in a good place with herself.”

The trial at Hove Crown Court continues.


1989: David Browning starts working at the University of Brighton’s payroll department. 
2015: Jillian Howell takes over the department becoming Browning’s boss.  
May 13: he Googles “shotgun cabinets”.
June 6: Browning and Ms Howell go for  drink at the Signalman pub in Ditchling Rise. 
Afterwards he texts her to say “I adore you personally and professionally”. 
June 18: Ms Howell tells friend Russell Nall, who she knows through her work for the Samaritans, about concerns she has about a colleague at work. 
She said “David is suicidal and struggling”. 
July 9: Browning applies for a shotgun licence. 
July 13: Ms Howell cancels drink with Browning. 
Aug 2: Browning texts Ms Howell to say “what a wonderful lady you are”.
Aug 3: Ms Howell invites Browning over for dinner. 
He  later texts to thank her adding “I think you realise how much you mean to me as a friend. 
“I will continue to be inappropriate at times”.
Aug 8: Ms Howell contacts the university’s occupational health department seeking help for Browning. 
August 20: Ms Howell tells Mr 
Nall Browning had told her she 
must never leave her job or get a boyfriend. 
September 11: Ms Howell convinces Browning to see occupational health and agreed the department would fund his counselling. 
September 16: Browning pays a deposit for a secondhand 12 gauge Browning shotgun from C H Weston in East Street, Brighton. 
He also purchased a lock knife. 
Ms Howell tells Russell Nall David told her he had a plan in mind for his suicide.
She also tells her nephew 
Adam Kish about a man at 
work who was suicidal but she 
thought a lot of.
October 24: Browning hires a rental van from Choices. 
He later told psychiatrists he wanted it to conceal the shotgun. 
October 25: Ms Howell’s diary includes entry marked “Dave dinner”. 
7.25pm: Browning texts to say he is on the way to Sandgate Road. 
11pm to midnight: Browning stabs Ms Howell 15 times. 
October 26 
4.25am: Browning Googles “suicide with shotgun” then posts 
picture  on facebook with 
the words “stand up to bullies – then kill them”. 
He spends more than hour on 
phone to  the Samaritans then 
heads to John Street police station in Brighton. 
6.08am:  He calls 999 to say he is outside with a shotgun.
6.30am: Officers attend Sandgate Road at Fiveways and find Jillian Howell’s body in the lounge.