UK & World News
Sex Assault Suicide: Police Defend Handling
Greater Manchester Police has defended its care of Frances Andrade, who killed herself after giving evidence against her abusers.
The violin teacher's testimony was central to the case against choirmaster Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Kay, who were found guilty of sexually assaulting their victim more than 30 years ago.
In a statement released after the verdicts, Mrs Andrade's son Oliver said his mother had praised an officer assigned to look after her, but that police had "heavily advised" her not to receive therapy until the end of the case.
He said: "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."
Greater Manchester Police say it is the force's policy to encourage victims to seek support.
GMP's head of public protection Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle said: "I would firstly like to extend my sympathies to the family of Frances Andrade.
"Our thoughts remain with them at this desperately difficult time and it is tragic she is not able to see she has been vindicated for the bravery she consistently showed throughout the investigation.
"I want to make it clear that it is Greater Manchester Police's policy and practice to encourage victims to seek whatever support they need.
"The advice to Frances not to seek support may have been given by another party but it was not the advice of Greater Manchester Police. Victims who have suffered sexual abuse have every right to seek whatever help they need.
"As Frances' son Oliver said in his very moving statement, the GMP officer who was assigned the case did everything he could to help Frances."
The body of Mrs Andrade, 48, was found less than a week after she gave evidence in the trial at Manchester Crown Court.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided to continue with the trial and Judge Martin Rutland ruled that news of Mrs Andrade's death should be kept from jurors until after they reached their verdicts.
After 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 the barrister: "You are hugely insulting, even though it's your job."
The judge told the defendants a jail sentence for both of them was "inevitable" as he remanded the pair in custody.