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Ex-royal aide 'is still a danger'

The brother of the businessman murdered by former royal aide Jane Andrews has condemned the Parole Board's decision to release her from prison.

Rick Cressman, whose brother Tom died after being stabbed in the chest in London in September 2000, said family members were "very disappointed" at the prospect of Andrews being freed.

Andrews, a former dresser to the Duchess of York, was jailed for life in 2001 after an Old Bailey jury heard that she killed Mr Cressman when he refused to marry her.

Jurors rejected Andrews' claims that she was acting in self-defence when she struck the Mr Cressman, 39, with a cricket bat at the home they shared in Fulham.

Speaking hours after the Parole Board's decision was made public, Rick Cressman said the victim's wider family shared his fears that Andrews remained a danger.

The 64-year-old hotelier, who owns Warwickshire's Nailcote Hall, told the Press Association: "It's a fairly soft result when you think about it.

"The justice we have got is not adequate, particularly for the most serious crime anyone can commit.

"At the end of the day, we have to serve a life sentence for all our lives. Our life sentence is one we will never get parole from."

Mr Cressman, who has three grown-up children, said: "I saw my kids grow up without their Uncle Tommy and it's very, very sad.

"I have also got two grandchildren and it's also very sad that they will never see their Uncle Tommy, who was a lovely, lovely man."

Giving voice to worries that Andrews may reoffend, Mr Cressman added: "I don't know how they came to the conclusion that she is safe to release.

"I really hope that they don't live to regret the decision and that nobody else suffers like Tommy did and like we continue to.

"I think she remains a seriously dangerous individual and shouldn't be freed."

The victim's brother also disclosed that he had attended a Parole Board hearing eight weeks ago, where he read out family letters.

Describing Andrews as a "proven" danger, Mr Cressman, who is set to fly to America in the next few days for his youngest daughter's wedding, said: "Obviously Uncle Tommy would have been there. This just brings it all up again.

"Andrews has never shown any genuine remorse for what she did and that is what makes me have scant regard about her rehabilitation.

"The justice system allows for people who have committed heinous crimes the opportunity to have parole.

"We have to live with what they have decided, but I really do hope that it does not backfire on them, because that is what this is about now.

"It's very, very disappointing that she has been released after just 14 years.

"A life sentence should mean exactly what it says on the tin when somebody is brutally murdered."

A spokesman for the Parole Board said: "We can confirm that a three-member panel of the Parole Board has directed the release of Jane Andrews.

"The decision to release is a matter for the board, which is independent.

"Arrangements and the date of the release are a matter for the Ministry of Justice. We are unable to comment further on the details of this case."

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said the release of life-sentence prisoners was directed by the independent Parole Board once they were satisfied they can be safely managed in the community.

Once released, those serviig life sentences are subject to strict licence conditions, the spokesman added.

Grimsby-born Andrews worked as a dresser for the Duchess of York for nine years until 1997.


From Belfast Telegraph