Choirmaster And Ex-Wife Jailed For Sex Abuse

Choirmaster And Ex-Wife Jailed For Sex Abuse

A choirmaster who sexually assaulted a pupil at a music school more than 30 years ago has been jailed for six years.

Michael Brewer, a former National Youth Choir music director, and his ex-wife were found guilty on five counts of indecently assaulting his student Frances Andrade more than 30 years ago.

During the trial, Ms Andrade, 48, was found dead at her home less than a week after she gave evidence against Brewer at Manchester Crown Court. She had reportedly killed herself.

The 68-year-old was convicted of sexually abusing her in his office at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester when she was aged 14 and 15.

Passing sentence, Judge Martin Rudland said: "You were, and may still be, a predatory sex offender. Of that let no-one be in any doubt.

"The extent of your breach of trust in this case cannot be overstated."

Brewer's ex-wife, Kay Brewer, 68, was also convicted of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade, then known as Shorney, when she was an adult at their former family home. She was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

The jury returned not guilty verdicts on charges that Brewer raped Mrs Andrade when she was aged 18 and that Mrs Brewer aided and abetted the attack.

Brewer was also cleared of one charge of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade when she was a child in his home.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided to continue with the trial and the judge ruled that news of Mrs Andrade's death should be kept from jurors until after they reached their verdicts.

Mrs Andrade was visibly agitated on occasions as she gave her evidence over two days on January 16 and 17.

She chose to take to the witness box in full view of everyone in the courtroom, including the two defendants in the dock.

The jury heard that the police investigation was sparked by National Youth Choir teacher Jenavora Williams after Mrs Andrade, her friend, told her about her time at Chetham's.

The mother-of-four, from Guildford, Surrey, who was married to acclaimed viola player Levine Andrade, was supported from the public gallery by one of her sons.

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

The judge remarked that she was "clearly undergoing a cathartic experience, whatever the source" while giving evidence.

He said she was "combative" during cross-examination by Kate Blackwell QC, representing Brewer, adding that she had taken personal issue with some of the barrister's questions, although the judge indicated that Ms Blackwell had acted professionally.

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

Her son, Oliver Andrade, described his mother as "an amazing person", but appeared to criticise authorities for failing to provide more support despite two previous attempts to kill herself.

He said in a statement: "Like all people she was not impervious. 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."

Brewer went on to become the artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Britain and has directed the World Youth Choir.

The judge told him: "The care and attention which you gave her, in so manipulative and depraved a way, were regarded by her as blessings.

"She was prepared to submit to almost anything, which clearly she did, as you pushed the boundaries further and further - treating her as your sexual plaything in the context of a false loving relationship which she readily accepted."

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