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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Ex-Royal aide makes abuse claim
Jane Andrews and boyfriend Tom Cressman
Jane Andrews stabbed and beat Tom Cressman
A former aide to the Duchess of York has begun an appeal against her conviction for the murder of her boyfriend.

Jane Andrews is claiming that she was sexually abused as a child and, as a result, was suffering from diminished responsibility when she killed Thomas Cressman.

The argument has been strongly contested by prosecution lawyers, who claim she is "attention-seeking and manipulative".

Andrews was convicted of murdering Mr Cressman following her trial in May 2001.

On Tuesday the 36-year-old listened from the dock in the Court of Appeal as three judges were urged to order a retrial.

Andrews' supporters want a fresh jury to hear the new psychiatric evidence and consider the alternative verdict of manslaughter.

'Attention-seeking'

Crown counsel Bruce Houlder QC said the allegation of childhood abuse was not accepted by the prosecution.

"It is denied by the alleged perpetrator, as it always has been, and the only evidence of it arises from her own account," he told Lord Justice Kennedy, Mr Justice Forbes and Mr Justice Aikens.

At her Old Bailey trial in May 2001, Andrews was presented in evidence as "attention-seeking and manipulative in her relationships", he said.

"That same trait may have motivated these allegations."

Duchess of York
Jane Andrews worked for the Duchess of York until 1997
Andrews, a dresser and assistant to the Duchess of York for nine years until 1997, was jailed for life after being found guilty in May 2001 of murdering wealthy businessman Tommy Cressman, 39, at the house they shared in Fulham, west London.

She struck him on the head with his cricket bat and then stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife in revenge after he said he would not marry her.

Andrews, who was on the run for four days, claimed it was an accident and then pleaded she acted in self-defence when Mr Cressman tried to rape her in the early hours of 17 September, 2000.

The issues of provocation and diminished responsibility were left to the jury by the trial judge.

Vera Baird QC, for Andrews, told the appeal judges that two medical experts, including a prison psychiatrist, had independently concluded from interviews with Andrews that she was, at the time of the killing and still now, suffering from an abnormality of mind.

The appeal continues.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's June Kelly
"The court was told she had a borderline personality disorder"



SEE ALSO:
Jealousy drove lover to kill
16 May 01  |  UK News
Picture gallery: Jane Andrews
16 May 01  |  UK News



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