SAMARITAN Jillian Howell was killed by her own kindness.

David Browning murdered her after she opened up her heart and her home and offered him counselling.

Jailing Browning for life and ordering the killer to serve a minimum of 28 years yesterday, Judge Christine Laing QC said: “Jillian Howell was a compassionate woman, a quality that cost her her life.

“She took time to listen to you and try to support you.

“Jillian Howell showed you understanding and compassion.

“I am quite satisfied that what led you to kill her was very ordinary emotions of desire, jealousy frustration and anger.

“I am also convinced you exaggerated the severity of symptoms to gain Jill’’s attention.

“She did more than most people would to support you.

“But it’s plain you wanted to be more special to her than that.

“As a result of your utterly callous actions many people have been terribly affected.

“The impact of Jillian’s loss on her family and friends is enormous. No sentence I pass could ever compensate them for that.

“It’s ruined the lives of many people. All her family and friends have spoken very highly of her and the impact on them is unending.

“Not only have you shown no emotion about what you have done, you have shown little remorse other than for you own situation. “

The only flicker of emotion to pass across Browning’s face was to wipe his brow as the judge listed the aggravating features in the case.

Browning, 52, of Willow Drive, Seaford, attacked Ms Howell her home in Sandgate Road, Fiveways, on October 25, stabbing her in the chest, neck and abdomen. The judge said she would certainly have suffered great pain as she bled to death on the floor of her lounge.

Before handing himself in to police he scrawled the word “bully” across her head in one-inch letters with a black marker pen.

A jury convicted Browning on Wednesday of murder after deliberating for just two hours and 20 minutes after hearing that Browning - her number two in the university’s payroll department became “selfish, self-centred and vindictive” when it became clear their relationship was not going to develop into anything more.

The judge said that when his when his romantic intentions were spurned he “perpetuated

this myth of bullying in an attempt to evade full responsibility for your actions.”

Ms Howell, who had lost both her parents, told friends she wanted to help him.

But Browning began planning to kill her on October 10, hiring a van, buying a shotgun and writing letters accusing her of bullying.

The judge added: “Jillian Howell was a much loved sister, aunt, cousin and niece and friend, highly skilled with a variety of interests including giving up her free time to counsel and cared fore those in distress.

“She was 46 when she was murdered by you in a savage act.

“This was a sustained attack and terror and trauma of the final few minutes of her life was unimaginable.

“Not content to have inflicted those injuries you then defiled her body, writing the word bully on her forehead.

“That was a grotesque act.

“It allowed that word to be use in connection with her throughout this trial when it was clear nothing could be further from the truth.

“Anyone listening to the evidence in this case would have heard Jillian Howell was a compassionate woman, a quality that cost her her life.”


1989: David Browning starts working at the University of Brighton’s payroll department.

2015: Jillian Howell becomes his boss.

June 6 2017: Browning and Ms Howell go for drink at the Signalman pub.

Afterwards texts “I adore you personally and professionally”.

July 9: Browning applies for a shotgun licence.

August 20: Jill tells friend Russel Nall that Browning had warned her “you must never get a boyfriend or leave the university”.

September 16: Browning buys shotgun and lock knife lock knife.

October 25 Browning stabs Ms Howell 15 times and writes “bully” on her forehead.

October 26 He posts picture on facebook with the words “stand up to bullies – then kill them”, then hands himself in to police.

heads to John Street police station calls 999 to say he is outside with a shotgun.