A FORMER dresser to the Duchess of York was jailed for life yesterday after being convicted of the murder of her lover in a rage.
Jane Andrews (34), had driven an eight-inch kitchen knife into the chest of Tom Cressman in his bedroom, after hitting him on the head with a cricket bat, when she realised that he would not marry her. She watched and did nothing to help as he desperately tried to remove the knife from his body.
After murdering Cressman, Andrews went on the run, text-messaging friends and acquaintances, including the Duchess of York. The Duchess replied, urging her to give herself up.
Andrews had killed Cressman (39), after he had refused to marry her. During her trial, she claimed that her former boyfriend, the son of a millionaire businessman, tied her up and anally raped her on the morning of the killing and had sexually abused her for a prolonged period before that.
Yesterday, after her conviction, Mr Cressman's family and friends spoke of their disgust at the way Andrews had tried to drag the reputation of the man she killed through the mud.
Mr Cressman's mother, Barbara (73), said: "She told a whole tissue of lies. She had months to make up a story. She has been very carefully stage-managed to make her appearance as bad as possible and learn her lines. She murdered my son with malice aforethought."
Behind the murder lay an extraordinary tale of ambition, vanity and lethal obsession.
"Lady Jane" was the Duchess of York's affectionate nickname for the young aide with self-consciously grand manners. Seeing them together in fashionable restaurants or shops, it would have been easy to believe they were old friends. In reality, Jane Andrews was a royal employee and, on a salary of stg £18,000 a year, was expected to be dresser, accounts manager, part-time hair dresser and companion, working very long hours. But the joiner's daughter from Cleethorpes had been desperate to break into fashionable society and, as far as she was concerned, she had.
There was surprise among her friends when Andrews married Christopher Dunn-Butler, a divorced, balding IBM executive 20 years her senior. He divorced her, citing infidelity, five years later.
Later Andrews met the wealthy Tom Cressman and rapidly became obsessed with him.
Soon Andrews was nagging Mr Cressman to get married but he recoiled at the pressure, as well as her possessiveness.
* Independent News Service