Tuesday, 9 August 2011


Jane Andrews, 34, the former dresser to the Duchess of York was jailed for life on the 16th May 2001 after being convicted of the murder of her lover in a jealous rage. She 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. She watched and did nothing to help as he desperately tried to remove the knife from his body.

After murdering Mr Cressman, Andrews went on the run, text-messaging friends and acquaintances, including the Duchess of York. The Duchess sent back a message asking her to give herself up. Andrews had killed Mr 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. 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 from the same social milieu.
In reality, Jane Andrews was a royal employee and, on a salary of £18,000 a year, was expected to be dresser, accounts manager, part-time coiffure 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.
The Duchess of York, and the lifestyle she represented, was idolised by Andrews. Her voice, with the Humberside accent expunged by elocution, began to sound like her mistress and even her blond hair turned a shade of red for a while. Andrews had been reinventing herself since childhood. She made it clear she did not feel at home at Hereford comprehensive school. A fashion course at the Grimsby College of Art was another step towards the exit. Her former lecturer Irene Smith recalled: "Jane was extremely single-minded. There was a purpose to her work: to get out of Grimsby. She knew what she wanted in life."
Andrews applied for a job as a dresser. After nearly six months, she got a response summoning her to be interviewed by the Duchess of York. Andrews started work four days later. The job brought accommodation at Buckingham Palace, a far cry from the two-bedroom inner city flat where her parents lived. "The Queen signs my pay cheques," she would boast at dinner parties.
Just what was being signed and by who remained a mystery. Andrews appeared to have carte blanche to spend the Duchess of York's money. Despite her modest salary, she somehow managed to buy a flat facing Battersea Park and keep £50,000 in her bank account. It's been alleged she stole a huge amount of money from the palace, but this has never proved legally.
The new life also brought a new circle of friends. Andrews appeared to have indulged in a varied love life, having affairs with men she met through work.
Andrews' boyfriends all experienced her jealous rage. When one ended their affair, she hurled ornaments at him. A journalist lover described how he was put under emotional pressure after he dumped her. She claimed that he had made her pregnant, but that she miscarried their child. He found the story to be a fabrication. Another journalist told police he was stalked by Andrews after their friendship ended.
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.
Andrews' working relationship with the Duchess had remained strong, surviving the loss of a diamond necklace and bracelet (wedding gifts from the Queen) which Andrews had allowed to be checked into normal baggage on a flight from London to New York.
But things changed with the appearance of Count Gaddo della Gheradecsu, a Tuscan aristocrat with whom it's alleged the Duchess had an affair. The Count, however, also liked Andrews. When Andrews mentioned to colleagues at the Palace that she had received "an affectionate note" from him, Andrews was dismissed.
Andrews was inconsolable. Her weight plummeted and she began to lose her hair. She had psychotherapy and was prescribed tranquillisers. She was also diagnosed as suffering from a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome.
She then met the wealthy and urbane Tom Cressman and rapidly became obsessed with him. Mr Cressman's millionaire American father, Henry, had built up Bristol Street Motors into the biggest chain of Ford dealerships in Europe. He is also a former director of Aston Villa football club.
Andrews moved into Mr Cressman's £400,000 flat in Fulham and got a job as a PR manager for Claridges. But she had to leave the post after two months when it became clear that she was not up to it.
Soon Andrews was nagging Mr Cressman to get married and he was getting increasingly annoyed at the pressure, as well as her possessiveness. Once, Andrews left a message on Mr Cressman's telephone answering machine which said: "Where the fucking hell are you. I am walking the fucking streets. You are never there when I fucking want you." The accent had slipped back to Humberside.
Andrews had searched Mr Cressman's e-mail account and discovered erotic correspondence with a woman in Las Vegas called "Deborah". One of the e-mails also referred to Andrews as "a pair of old slippers I can't get rid of". Another referred to kinky underwear and was signed: "lots of licks and hugs and kisses, your pool boy". Others mentioned a girl being at Cressman's "mercy to do whatever he wanted".
Andrews faxed copies of the e-mails to the woman's workplace and also to Mr Cressman's mother, Barbara. Mr Cressman maintained that the e-mails were simply fantasies he was writing for a magazine.
Andrews claims that heliked her to dress in revealing underwear in bed and that he liked tying her up. She maintained he was obsessed with anal sex and said she was impelled to go along with this. Towards the end of last year, relations had improved sufficiently for Andrews to expect a marriage proposal during a holiday in the south of France, but that was the last thing on his mind.
Mrs Cressman recalled: "Jane had been hoping for a proposal. When it didn't come, her face was like a thunder cloud. Tom told me he had told Jane he didn't want to marry her. I think Tom had been trying for some time to persuade Jane to leave of her own volition and she had threatened suicide on other occasions. Tom never cared for himself. He thought Jane would do something to herself. Instead, it worked out the other way around."
Searching the couple's home after the murder, the police came upon a letter written by Mr Cressman to Andrews. It said: "I do care about you. Yes, times have been difficult for us over the last year but I do like you and like being with you.
"However, over the last few months, it has been like I have been walking on eggshells all the time. Your mood swings have been so hard to predict. Your jealousy has also got out of hand. You question me every day and will not let me do anything with 'the boys' and without you.
"You have been making me all your life and it is too much pressure on me. I must be part of your life, not all. I do hate to see you so upset. Whatever I say is wrong. I do care." The letter was found in the wastebasket, torn to bits by Andrews.


A policeman was jailed for life on the 23rd May 2009 for murdering his fiancĂ©e, also a police constable, and then faking a car crash to disguise the killing. Martin Forshaw, 27, admitted killing Claire Howarth, 31, as they prepared to fly to the Caribbean to marry. He had told her that he was still involved with his former girlfriend. After saying that the wedding was off, he beat Miss Howarth repeatedly with a hammer in the home that they shared, next to her wedding dress and packed suitcases.

Forshaw, known as Alex, pleaded guilty as his trial was due to start at Manchester Crown Court. Sentencing him to a minimum of 18 years, Mr Justice David Clarke said: “This was a brutal killing. Whatever immediately led up to it, you struck Claire Howarth at least five times to and around the head with a very heavy and dangerous instrument.”

The couple were preparing to fly to St Lucia for their wedding and Miss Howarth had texted a friend in the early hours of 7th May 2009 to say that they had been dancing round the house in excitement. Forshaw then told Miss Howarth that he was not going to marry her. It later emerged that he was booked on a holiday to Disneyland Paris with Lisa Charles, the mother of his four-year-old son. “He told her he did not wish to go through with the wedding. He realised that was the end of the relationship,” Peter Wright, QC, representing Forshaw, said. Mr Wright said that Miss Howarth confronted Forshaw with the garden mallet during the row that followed and that Forshaw “plainly lost his self control”. Pathologists said that Forshaw’s original claim of self-defence was “totally implausible”.

After the attack Forshaw carried Miss Howarth to her BMW. Mr Wright said that Forshaw admitted striking his girlfriend twice more during the car journey because he wanted to “put her out of her pain”. He drove around quiet country lanes before putting Miss Howarth into the driving seat and accelerating into a hedge. He then dialled 999, claiming that Miss Howarth had been injured because she was not wearing a seatbelt. She died later that day. The car was almost unscratched, but a post-mortem examination found that Miss Howarth had 14 separate injuries and died of “severe head trauma”.

“It was such a poor attempt to make it look like a crash that both the police and the ambulance service were immediately suspicious,” Senior Investigating Officer Andy Tattershall, of Greater Manchester Police, said. “The severity of Claire’s head injuries meant they could not have been caused by such a minor crash. That caused us to question Forshaw’s account and led us to unravelling this tragic sequence of events.”

The judge told Forshaw: “You may have been panicking but you were also cowardly . . . You, seeing her so seriously injured, finished her off.”

Miss Howarth had just completed two years’ probation with Greater Manchester Police. She was described as “a person who brought light into the police station” by her manager, Chief Superintendent John O’Hare.

Forshaw, of Meadow Way, Tottington, Bury, in Lancashire, had been with Cheshire Constabulary since 2003 and was an expert in self-defence. He had lived with Miss Charles until 2007. Mr Wright said that Forshaw had “buried his head in the sand” about his involvement with his child’s mother. “He was torn. Torn as to his loyalties and torn as to what, if any, future he ought to pursue for the best.”