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Inquest into death of abused woman

Frances Andrade was found dead a week after she testified against a teacher at Chethams School of music.

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Abuse victim "felt she was on trial"

Frances Andrade died of a prescription drug overdose. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

Violinist Frances Andrade, who testified about sexual abuse by her music teacher, told her husband she felt she had been the one on trial, just days before she died of a prescription drug overdose.

Mrs Andrade died at her home in Guildford, Surrey in January 2013, just a week after giving evidence in court about historic sexual abuse by her former choirmaster Michael Brewer.

Woking Coroner's Court heard the mother-of-four, 48, had spiralled into "incredible despair" after a friend reported Brewer to Surrey Police the previous January and she was asked to give a statement.

Brewer, who taught at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester before going on to direct the World Youth Choir, was stripped of a music services OBE after being jailed for six years for five counts of indecent assault.

Mrs Andrade was aged just 14 and 15 at the time of the abuse but only came forward when she confided in a friend at a dinner party in 2011 and was alarmed Brewer was still teaching.

The court heard she was prescribed anti-depressants after talking to police and had twice tried to take her own life in December 2012 and January 2013.

Her husband Levine Andrade, 59, found his wife, known as Fran, dead at 8am on January 24 last year.

He said: "She fell into incredible despair, the truth hit home. It was not something she wanted to report to the police.

"It brought back horrible memories from her past. Life took a real downturn after the court proceedings - that was when she was at her complete lowest.

"Apart from the trial bringing it all back up she felt the defence barrister seemed to be attacking her personally.

"It got her completely down and she felt completely defenceless. I think she felt she was not prepared enough for the trial.

She was not expecting to be attacked personally and have to answer so many direct questions in public."

The court also heard Mrs Andrade had met Brewer on two occasions since the abuse and even asked him to hand himself in.

The toxicology report concluded there was a fatal amount of anti-depressant in her blood. Tests were inconclusive.

In April this year, a serious case review by Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board said Mrs Andrade's death "could and should" have been prevented and mental health services failed to recognise she was vulnerable as she made repeated suicide bids.

Her death led to calls for the court system to improve how sexual abuse victims are treated.

The inquest continues and is scheduled to run into next week.

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