Former royal aide loses appeal over murder of lover

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The Independent Online

A former aide to the Duchess of York lost an appeal yesterday against her conviction for murdering her wealthy lover in a fit of jealous rage.

While she was being returned to prison, Jane Andrews was described as "totally despicable" by the dead man's parents, who said she had tried to ruin his reputation in her campaign to clear her name.

Andrews, 36, claimed that her anger was triggered by childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her brother and said she had been raped by Tom Cressman, her lover, before she killed him in September 2000. But three judges at the Court of Appeal threw the case out on the outline of the evidence alone. They refused to hear detailed submissions that her anger was prompted by psychological problems brought on by confronting the alleged abuse.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dickie, who led the investigation, said after the hearing that Andrews had used every excuse to deny responsibility for the killing. "She gave every possible defence - the true explanation was that she had murdered him," he said.

Andrews battered Mr Cressman with a cricket bat before stabbing him with an eight-inch kitchen knife in the bedroom of their home in Fulham, south-west London. She watched and did nothing as he tried to remove the knife from his body.

After the murder, she went on the run, text-messaging friends and acquaintances including the Duchess of York, for whom she was dresser and assistant for nine years until 1997. The Duchess replied with a message asking her to give herself up. Police said that Andrews was obsessed with Mr Cressman and killed him because he did not want to marry her. Mr Cressman's family and police said that she had invented the sex attacks.

Andrews denied murdering Mr Cressman, claiming she had stabbed him accidentally while he was trying to rape her. She was jailed for life in May 2001.

Harry Cressman, the dead man's father, said outside court: "Nothing will ever bring Tom back to us. His character, his true reputation as a fine upstanding young man remains as strong as ever. I understand that anybody in prison and behind bars would try anything to get out of that position and I think what she did to ruin our son's reputation, of her brother and other members of her family, is totally despicable."

Andrews claimed that her older brother, Mark, had abused her from when she was aged eight to about 12. Her legal team said she had a personality disorder at the time of the attack because she was trying to confront the alleged abuse, which had been "unlocked" by psychiatrists. Mark Andrews, an actor and producer based in Manchester, said last year that he had been devastated by his sister's claims. "Although I have supported my sister throughout, I cannot allow her to blacken my name in this way," he said.

Andrews' parents, June and David, were in court yesterday. Mrs Andrews said after the hearing: "I have nothing to say, I am too upset. I believe my daughter and will always believe my daughter."

Det Ch Insp Dickie said he now hoped that Andrews would accept the decision and let the Cressman family grieve in peace. Allegations of domestic violence and rape had been thoroughly investigated and no evidence had been found to support her claims.

"For her to make such allegations to try to absolve herself of the responsibility for murdering Tom is unforgivable." He said Tom Cressman's reputation remained intact. "Nothing can bring Tom back, but this decision by the Court of Appeal judges, which reflects the strength of the evidence, will I hope give the family some solace in their continuing grief."