In the Media

Duchess of York's killer aide Jane Andrews could be freed next month

PUBLISHED March 4, 2012

Less than 11 years after Jane Andrews, the Duchess of York's former dresser, was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her lover, she is looking forward to resuming her life on the outside.

Mandrake can disclose that Andrews, 43, is to appear before a parole board hearing later this month and could be released within weeks. "If she is successful with her parole hearing, it is possible that she will be released back into the community next month," confirms a source at the parole board.

Andrews clubbed her boyfriend, Thomas Cressman, unconscious with a cricket bat before stabbing him to death at the house they shared in Fulham, west London, in 2000. He had refused to marry her.

She will appear before the parole board on March 27 at Send prison in Surrey. Her victim's brother, Rick, tells me that he has been invited to attend the hearing with their sister, Cathy, and her husband, Stephen.

"I'm unsure whether I'll attend," he says. "The last hearing made me very cynical about the process. It just felt like the opinion of the family meant nothing."

Andrews, who was a close friend as well as an employee of Fergie for nine years, absconded from HMP East Sutton Park in 2009. The Crown Prosecution Service said that, having considered psychiatric reports on Andrews, she would not face charges for walking out of the open prison. She was returned to custody two days later after being found at a hotel a few miles away.

Rick, 60, is bitterly disappointed that Andrews could be released. "The fact that this person might be let out so soon after brutally killing our brother is, frankly, unbelievable," he says. "A life sentence should do what it says on the tin. Sadly, it doesn't.

"The nature of sentencing for murder is so haphazard and inconsistent. The way the system operates is unfair on the victim and victim's family. It's insulting. It's just all built around the rights of the criminal and not around those who have had their rights and loved one taken away. More consistent values must be applied.

"I'm not in favour of the death penalty because I see that as an easy way out. Being put behind bars to reflect and agonise over the crime you've committed is a much better punishment. Now, Andrews might not even have to do this.

"I'm not convinced she's shown any remorse or has been rehabilitated. She's always tried to justify what she did - how can you be rehabilitated if you're not even sorry. I believe there is a very real risk that what happened to Tommy could happen again."

A Parole Board spokesman will not comment on Andrews, but says: "Once a life-sentence prisoner's minimum tariff has been served, the only legal question which has to be answered is whether or not the prisoner is a risk to the public."