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2001: Royal aide on trial for murder
A former personal assistant to the Duchess of York has gone on trial accused of murdering her boyfriend.

Jane Andrews, 34, denies murdering businessman Thomas Cressman, 39, at their home in Fulham, West London, in September last year.

But Bruce Houlder QC, for the prosecution, told the Old Bailey jury she hit him on the head with a cricket bat and then stabbed him with a kitchen knife after he refused to marry her.

Miss Andrews worked for the Duchess of York for nine years. She had such a refined air about her that her employer dubbed her "Lady Jane".

But in 1997, the Duchess was forced to make drastic cuts to her spending to pay off an overdraft running to several million pounds, and Andrews lost her job.

The prosecution described this as a devastating and upsetting blow.

'Insecure'

She met Mr Cressman some time afterwards and the pair began a relationship. But the prosecution depicted Miss Andrews as an insecure woman, desperate to marry Mr Cressman.

Mr Houlder said he did not want to get married - he was a millionaire and enjoying his bachelor life.

In fact, added Mr Houlder, he had compared Jane Andrews to an old pair of slippers he couldn't get rid of.

Miss Andrews claims she acted in self-defence and that Mr Cressman attacked her first.

But Mr Houlder told the jury, "There was plenty of time here for reason to enter the situation.

"It was long enough for her to put a brake on her emotions, even in the time it took her to go downstairs and take a knife upstairs into the bedroom."

Police search

Shortly afterwards, Miss Andrews disappeared. She was discovered by police in the West Country, near Plymouth, slumped in her car after taking an overdose of painkillers.

Mr Houlder said that though the jury "could be sure" she was depressed at the time, she contacted friends and acquaintances on her mobile phone, pretending not to know Mr Cressman had been attacked and died.

He said after three days in hospital, Miss Andrews had been released to police and had then "changed her story again", saying she had acted in self-defence.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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Jane Andrews
Jane Andrews worked for the Duchess of York for nine years



In Context
Jane Andrews was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on 16 May 2001.

She appealed against the verdict, on the grounds that she had a possible borderline personality disorder after being sexually abused as a child. The appeal was turned down in September 2003.

A documentary about the case screened on ITV1 at the same time was also said to have left her "in a terrible state", according to her supporters, Justice for Women.

A month later, she was found unconscious in her prison cell, having taken a possible drugs overdose.

It later emerged that the Duchess of York had been involved in the hunt for Jane Andrews in the days immediately after the murder.

Sarah Ferguson is said to have left two voicemail messages on Andrews' mobile phone, urging her to give herself up.

Andrews sent a text back saying she did not know why people were trying to contact her as "everything was fine" when she left the house.

The Duchess also gave a witness statement to police, although it was not used during the trial.

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