Page last updated at 19:49 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Anger at ex-royal aide's escape

Jane Andrews

The brother of a man murdered by a fugitive former Royal aide has accused the government of incompetence.

Jane Andrews, who murdered Thomas Cressman at their London home in 2000, went missing from East Sutton Park Prison, in Maidstone, on Sunday.

Rick Cressman said Justice Secretary Jack Straw should consider resigning and added that Andrews should not have been moved to an open prison.

The Ministry of Justice said it took victim impact issues very seriously.

Mr Cressman said: "I think I can only say to just about any member of the government, and particularly Jack Straw, 'how would you feel?'. I think it is terrible, it is a disgrace.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Adams

Appeal over ex-royal aide killer

"It's disgraceful. I think if I was Jack Straw I would be thinking of resigning. It's complete and utter incompetence that she is on the streets.

"I'm sure I'll find the time to write a note to Mr Straw telling him what a pathetic and incompetent department he is running if they cannot even look after one lady murderer who shouldn't have been in an open prison."

Mr Cressman also said that Andrews, 42, had shown no remorse for her crime.

The Ministry of Justice issued a statement which said: "We take the impact of crime on victims and their families very seriously.

"Victims are able to attend parole board hearings and provide personal statements about the impact of crime on their lives."

Meanwhile, Kent Police have said they are concerned for Andrews' welfare.

East Park Prison
Andrews went missing from East Sutton Park Prison

Asst Ch Con Andy Adams said: "We are pursuing lines of inquiry, there are a number of addresses that she is associated with.

"It's very difficult for us to really have a clear picture as to whether she has escaped because she is intent on absconding or whether she has escaped because she is vulnerable herself."

Andrews was wearing a black and white striped top, black jeans, a black body warmer and black trainers when last seen, police said.

Andrews, originally from Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire, has been in an open prison since July after being moved from Send prison in Surrey.

She was eligible to be freed on parole in 2012.

In 2003, Andrews was taken to intensive care after prison staff found her unconscious in her cell. She also took an overdose of medication last week for which she needed hospital treatment.

Andrews, who worked for the Duchess of York for nine years until 1997, beat 39-year-old Mr Cressman with a cricket bat and stabbed him with a kitchen knife on 17 September 2000.

She was initially ordered to serve at least 15 years in 2001, but that was reduced to 12 on appeal.

According to Ministry of Justice information, prisoners are classed as absconders if they absent themselves from prison custody without permission and without overcoming security measures such as fences and locks.

The documents say that due to the nature of open prisons it can never be guaranteed that prisoners do not abscond. They add that 96% of absconding prisoners are re-captured.

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