Wednesday 13 November 2019

Music tutor convicted of sex abuse after victim's suicide

Kim Pilling Manchester

A MOTHER of four who killed herself during the sex abuse trial of her former teacher was let down by the court system, her family have said.

The body of violin teacher Frances Andrade (48) was found at her home a week after she gave evidence against Michael Brewer (68), who was yesterday convicted of sexually abusing her as a child while she was a pupil at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

Brewer's ex-wife Kay (68) was also found guilty of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade when she was 18.

Mrs Andrade, from Guildford, Surrey, was visibly agitated as she gave her evidence over two days on January 16 and 17.

She chose to give evidence in the witness box in full view of everyone in the courtroom.

At one point she complained about Brewer smiling as she gave evidence, but she chose to press on without drawing a curtain to block off the dock.

After she gave her evidence, Judge Martin Rudland remarked that she was "clearly undergoing a cathartic experience, whatever the source".

He said she was "combative" during cross-examination by Kate Blackwell QC, representing Brewer.

During the cross-examination, Mrs Andrade told Ms Blackwell: "You are hugely insulting, even though it's your job."

The judge said Ms Blackwell had acted professionally throughout and performed her task in an "exemplary manner".

In a statement issued after the verdicts, Mrs Andrade's son Oliver said: "Being repeatedly called a 'liar' and a 'fantasist' about a horrific part of her life in front of a court challenged her personal integrity and was more than even she could bear.

"She was forced to relive the many times Michael Brewer had sexually abused her as a child, both to the police on multiple occasions and in court to a hostile party."

He continued: "The court system let her down."

Mrs Andrade's death was not made known to the jury in the case until yesterday.

Brewer, who was awarded an OBE in 1995, resigned as music director at Chetham's at the end of 1994 after his affair with another pupil, then aged 17, was uncovered.

He went on to become the artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Britain, to direct the World Youth Choir, serve as an adjudicator in international competitions and lead BBC workshops for the programme 'Last Choir Standing' in 2008.

Brewer, of Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, – who was supported in court by his present wife, Sandra, – was cleared of raping Mrs Andrade when she was 18 at his then home in Chorlton, Manchester.

He was convicted of five counts of indecently assaulting her at the age of 14 and 15 when she was known as Frances Shorney.

The abuse took place in his office and in his camper van where he would drive her out of the school grounds and get her to perform oral sex on him.

Kay Brewer, of Knowl Gap Avenue, Rossendale, Lancashire, was cleared of aiding and abetting the alleged rape but convicted of one count of indecent assault against the complainant – said to have taken place on the same night as the alleged rape. Both defendants were remanded in custody and were told that a jail sentence was "inevitable".

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News