Duchess's aide held in murder inquiry

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The Independent Online

A former aide of the Duchess of York, who went missing after her boyfriend was found stabbed to death, was under arrest in hospital last night after taking an overdose.

A former aide of the Duchess of York, who went missing after her boyfriend was found stabbed to death, was under arrest in hospital last night after taking an overdose.

Jane Andrews, 33, was found early yesterday in her car in a lay-by in Cornwall. She was described as being in a "distressed state" and was taken to hospital in Plymouth, where her condition was later described as stable. She is believed to have taken an overdose of painkillers.

As soon as she is fit to travel, she is expected to be taken to London to be questioned about the death of her partner, Thomas Cressman, 39, who was found on Monday at the home they shared in Fulham, south-west London. Scotland Yard issued a nationwide alert on Tuesday for Ms Andrews, who was a dresser and an aide of the Duchess of York for nine years until November 1997, after she disappeared from the house.

She was found by police officers who spotted her white VW Polo at 6.45am, in a lay-by on the eastbound carriageway of the A38, near Liskeard.

The arrest followed a tip-off she had been seen in the St Ives area of west Cornwall, about 70 miles away, on Tuesday evening. A description of the vehicle was circulated among Devon and Cornwall police who carried out a search overnight.

Ms Andrews was arrested at the lay-by and taken to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth for treatment. Her clothes and her car have been taken for examination by forensic scientists.

Four Scotland Yard officers were sent to Plymouth yesterday to escort Ms Andrews back to London.

Police were alerted to Mr Cressman's death when a colleague of his visited his house.

A post-mortem examination showed that he died from a single stab wound to his chest, possibly inflicted by a dagger taken from his collection of ornamental knives.

Police revealed that Mr Cressman made a 999 call during a "domestic dispute" on Saturday, but changed his mind and told the operator he no longer needed help.

Ms Andrews and Mr Cressman had been together for two years and recently returned from holiday in Italy and France.

Ms Andrews is a sales assistant at the Theo Fennell jewellery shop in Fulham Road.

The daughter of a builder from Cleethorpes she was nicknamed "Lady Jane" by the Duchess of York for her polished accent and taste for fine clothes.

She had reverted to using her maiden name after getting divorced from Christopher Dunn-Butler, in 1996.

She hit the headlines in 1995 after jewellery worth £250,000 was stolen from one of the Duchess's suitcases which she had checked into an aircraft hold in New York. Ms Andrews discovered the theft - of a diamond necklace and bracelet, a wedding gift from the Queen - when she opened the bag on her return home. The items, which had been stolen by a baggage handler, were recovered.

Richard Cressman, the eldest brother of the dead man, said yesterday that the family were "sharing our grief together" trying to "cope with the tragedy".

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