A GLAMOROUS blonde in the dock, a former model no less, was always going to excite the media’s juices. But if you looked beyond the immaculate make-up and coiffured hair into Tracey Andrews’ soul, you were in an altogether darker place.

Because the 28-year-old was a cunning liar and a killer. She had already pulled a knife on a previous boyfriend before she stabbed her fiancée Lee Harvey to death in a frenzied attack after a night out in a Bromsgrove pub. A jury at Birmingham Crown Court was shown gruesome pictures of his injuries, more than 30 knife wounds to his neck, head, back and chest, which had severed both main arteries.

Andrews’ trial made headline news over four weeks in July 1997 and was a story of bloody murder, obsessive jealousy, violent rows and a final, fatal confrontation between two lovers down a lonely country road.

The couple’s explosive relationship was laid bare, with Andrews portrayed as a devious, wicked woman who concocted an elaborate fiction of road rage to cover her terrible assault on her 25-year-old partner.

The pair first met in 1993 in a nightclub and a year later Mr Harvey moved into a flat Andrews shared with her young daughter in Alvechurch. This was the scene of vicious rows during which furniture was smashed and the police were called. However, the couple did not keep their heated arguments within their home.

Witnesses told of seeing Andrews sink her teeth into Mr Harvey’s neck in a nightclub, as if “biting into an apple”, and then punch him twice in the face. He did not retaliate and she seemed to suddenly change character, calmly asking him to buy her a drink.

On the fatal night of December 1, 1996, they argued again before going for a drink at the Marlbrook pub in Bromsgrove, leaving to return home at about 10.30pm. Andrews claimed they were followed along the rural route back to Alvechurch by a blue Ford Sierra.

During her three days in the witness box, she repeatedly said Mr Harvey was the victim of a road rage attack by a fat male passenger in the Sierra, who had “staring eyes”. Andrews maintained the car overtook Mr Harvey’s distinctive Ford Escort RS Turbo less than a mile from their home and pulled in front of them. The passenger then got out, attacked her fiancée and also knocked her to the ground before returning to the Sierra, which drove off.

She said when she got to her feet again she saw Mr Harvey lying in the road making gurgling noises through deep stab wounds to his throat. But detectives found it hard to believe why Andrews had not tried to summon help for the fatally wounded Mr Harvey after the attack. She could have sounded the car’s horn or alarm, but instead, about 17 minutes after the attack, was found still leaning against the driver’s side of the Escort, covered in blood from head to toe, by a visitor to a nearby house. Tellingly, that witness told the court Andrews made no mention of any other car when he first saw her.

The murder weapon was never recovered, but fragments of a knife were found at the scene and a knife-blade-shaped blood stain was discovered on the inside of one of Andrews’s high heeled boots. Police believed she hid the remains of the knife in her boot and disposed of it on the night in a waste bin after being taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Redditch.

However, her family remained convinced of her innocence and, according to neighbours, anticipating a not guilty verdict, held a “premature celebration” party the night before the jury’s decision was announced. They were wrong. Tracey Andrews was unanimously convicted of the murder of Lee Harvey and sentenced to life imprisonment by Mr Justice Buckley, who told the court: “It was a tragedy for all concerned. I feel deeply for the families on both sides.”

It later transpired Andrews’ defence team suffered its own problems. First a person who provided a sworn statement claiming to have witnessed the road rage attack turned out to be a serial liar and fantasist and admitted perjury. Then when the murder conviction unsuccessfully went to the Court of Appeal, citing pre-trial publicity which caused Andrews’ name to become “synonymous with unmitigated wickedness, cunning and duplicity”, it was pointed out it was, in fact, the defence which had asked for publicity in an effort to trace witnesses. Courting the media can be a double edged sword.