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Choirmaster Michael Brewer Guilty Of Sex Abuse
The woman at the centre of sex abuse allegations involving top choirmaster Michael Brewer killed herself during the trial, it has emerged.
The body of violin teacher Frances Andrade, 48, was found at her home less than a week after she gave evidence against Michael Brewer at Manchester Crown Court.
In a statement released after the verdicts were delivered, her son claimed she had not received the help she needed from authorities despite two previous attempts to kill herself.
Brewer, a former National Youth Choir music director, and his ex-wife were found guilty on five counts of indecently assaulting the former music student more than 30 years ago.
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.
His 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.
The jury returned not guilty verdicts on charges that Brewer raped her 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.
Sending the jury out, the judge said: "Tragically a lady has lost her life during the course of these proceedings. She took her own life. She left no note. We do not know the circumstances in which she took her own life."
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.
Mrs Andrade told the court she wanted it to be dealt with internally but she said Mrs Williams went to the police in 2011 without telling her.
She then agreed to co-operate with the police and help the prosecution.
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.
Judge Martin Rudland 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, and she had taken personal issue with some of the barrister's questions but 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.
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.
"Having been heavily advised by the police not to receive any form of therapy until the end of the case (a process of almost two years) she was forced to cope on her own with only the support of her family and very close friends.
"This meant that even after several attempts at her own life she did not get the help she needed.
"The state of mental healthcare in this country needs reform. Even upon trying to get help she was told by those she turned to that they were not qualified to deal with her."
One of the defendants' four daughters gasped audibly in the public gallery when the jury returned its verdict on Kay Brewer.
The jury was told Mrs Andrade did not consider the Brewers' actions sexual abuse at the time and did not make an official complaint.
In a separate incident, Brewer quit Chetham's in 1994 after an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl.
The court heard she regularly visited his office and recalled he would persuade her to take off her top and bra and he would fondle her.
Giving evidence, Brewer - who was awarded an OBE for services to music in 1995 - admitted the 1994 affair. The full extent of the relationship was covered up as he had resigned.
Brewer went on to become the artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Britain and has directed the World Youth Choir.
Judge Martin Rudland told the defendants a jail sentence for both of them was "inevitable" as he remanded the pair in custody.