The ITV documentary Fergie’s Killer Dresser tells the story of Jane Andrews, who was convicted of killing her boyfriend Thomas Cressman in 2001 – but what is the link to Sally Challen?

Fergie’s Killer Dresser: The Jane Andrews Story airs on Wednesday (March 03 2021) at 9pm on ITV1.

The show asks whether Jane would have been convicted of manslaughter and not murder had she stood trial today.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Jane Andrews and boyfriend Tom Cressman
Jane Andrews with her boyfriend Tom Cressman, who she went on to kill (Credit: ITV)

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Is there a link between Sally Challen and Jane Andrews?

Jane Andrews was the former dresser to Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

Police discovered the bloodied body of her millionaire boyfriend Thomas Cressman in their shared bed.

A jury convicted Jane of the murder in 2001.

Jane hit Thomas with a cricket bat and stabbed him to death after an alleged row.

Prosecutors described her as “the woman scorned” when she went to trial at the Old Bailey on April 23 2001.

The ITV documentary likens Jane’s case to that of Sally Challen.

Was Jane Andrews in an abusive relationship?

Jane testified in her own defence that Tom had been abusive to her during their relationship, even breaking her arm on one occasion.

Despite her claims of domestic abuse, it took a jury just 12 hours to convict her of Tom’s murder.

The judge subsequently sentenced her to serve a minimum of 12 years of a life sentence.

Jane’s defence psychiatrist Trevor Turner goes on record for the first time.

He describes Jane as a panicky young woman who acted in self-defence.

Trevor believes she was being sexually assaulted by a man twice her size.

Thomas Cressman’s family have fiercely denied that he was in any way abusive towards her.

Jane endured a troubled childhood – including depression, panic attacks, eating disorders, unwanted pregnancies and suicide attempts.

Sally Challen on C4 News
Domestic abuse survivor Sally Challen speaks out on coercive control and why she killed her husband (Credit: YouTube/C4)

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Who is Sally Challen?

Britain’s first murder conviction was overturned on the grounds of domestic violence in the case of Sally Challen.

Sally murdered 61-year-old husband Richard in Surrey with a hammer.

A jury believed she was guilty of murder and she was jailed for life in 2011.

However, Sally was freed after her conviction was quashed in February 2019 and prosecutors later accepted her manslaughter plea.

Sally Challen: Is coercive control a crime?

During the two-day hearing, the court heard evidence relating to Mrs Challen’s state of mind at the time of the killing and the issue of “coercive control”.

Mr Justice Edis said the killing came after “years of controlling, isolating and humiliating conduct” with the added provocation of her husband’s “serial multiple infidelity”.

He imposed a new sentence of nine years and four months for manslaughter, but concluded that she had already served her time.

A psychiatrist said that mum-of-two Sally had been suffering from two mental disorders at the time of the killing.

Coercive control describes a pattern of behaviour by an abuser to harm, punish or frighten their victim.

It became a criminal offence in England and Wales in December 2015.

Jane Andrews Leaving The Bail Hostel Ripon House In Leeds West Yorkshire in June 2015 (Credit: From Optomen Television/ITV)
Jane Andrews leaving The Bail Hostel Ripon House in Leeds in June 2015 (Credit: From Optomen Television/ITV)

Where is Sally Challen now?

Domestic abuse survivor Sally now campaigns for the rights of other women who have suffered in coercive control relationships.

In 2020, she won the right to claim the estate of her husband Richard.

Judge Paul Matthews ruled that Mrs Challen can inherit his estate.

He said that a rule barring people who kill from inheriting their victim’s estate should be waived in Sally’s case.

What has ITV said about the link between Sally Challen and Jane Andrews?

First of all, ITV explains: “After Britain’s first murder conviction was overturned on the grounds of domestic violence in the case of Sally Challen, this film sets out to tell the definitive story of Andrews’ rise and fall.

“It asks whether the courts would have dealt with the case in the same way had it happened now.”

Finally, the documentary features an interview with defence psychiatrist Trevor Turner.

He goes on record for the first time to argue that Jane was suffering from a form of PTSD because of the alleged abuse from her lover.

Fergie’s Killer Dresser: The Jane Andrews Story airs on Wednesday March 03 2021 at 9pm on ITV1.

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