CPS stands firm over abuse case

The Crown Prosecution Service has defended itself against accusations that Frances Andrade, the woman who was sexually abused by a choir director and is believed to have killed herself during his trial, was let down by the court system.

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Chetham's to assist police over new claims of abuse

Chetham's School of Music has responded to fresh claims of alleged sexual abuse in the wake of the conviction of a top choirmaster.

"Several people" have contacted Greater Manchester Police directly after the conclusion of the trial of Michael Brewer, the former director of music at the school.

A spokeswoman for Chetham's said:

The police are now investigating the allegations of abuse at the school in the 1980s which have been the subject of recent newspaper reports. We will be assisting the police in whatever way we can.

While this investigation is ongoing it would not be appropriate for the school to comment any further, save to say that we encourage anyone who has any relevant information to contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Police to probe new abuse allegations at Chetham's

Michael Brewer and his former wife Kay have been convicted of indecent assault. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Police have confirmed they are investigating new claims of abuse following the jailing of a choirmaster at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

Michael Brewer and his former wife Kay, both 68, were convicted on Friday of indecently assaulting a former music student more than 30 years ago.

Their victim, 48-year-old Frances Andrade, killed herself shortly after testifying against them.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said "several people" had come forward to speak to police since last week's convictions, while detectives had also received a "list of potential victims from a newspaper".

Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said the investigation was at an early stage and said officers would be "working very closely with the school in the coming weeks and months".

He urged anyone who wants to report abuse at the school to contact GMP on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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CPS defends itself over sex-abuse victim

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has defended itself against accusations that Frances Andrade, the woman who was sexually abused by a choir director and is believed to have killed herself during his trial, was let down by the court system.

The CPS said a dedicated witness care officer was assigned to explain the trial process to Mrs Andrade and she had restated her willingness to give evidence on several occasions, both before and during the trial.

It said a dedicated witness care officer was assigned to explain the trial process and she was offered a familiarisation visit to the court in advance.

Choirmaster convicted of historical sexual abuse

A gifted violinist who was sexually abused by a leading choir director is believed to have killed herself after giving evidence against him, it has emerged.

Frances Andrade was found at her home less than a week after she had told a jury Michael Brewer had abused her when she was a teenager.

He and his wife were both convicted today at Manchester Crown Court.

ITV News special correspondent Rageh Omaar reports:

WARNING: This video contains flashing images

NSPCC: Victims of sex crimes must be protected in court

The NSPCC said the death of Francis Andrade, who is believed to have taken her own life after giving evidence against sex abuser Michael Brewer, and his wife Kay, was a 'stark reminder' of trauma of reliving sex crimes in court.

Jon Brown said:

This was a shocking case of an abuse of trust from a man in a position of authority over his young victim.

In this case the trauma of the event and reliving it in court was clearly too much for the victim to take.

This must act as a stark reminder of just how disgraceful and harmful sexual offences are. It also shows how difficult reliving these horrific crimes can be for the victims and why we must do all we can to support and protect witnesses and victims when they give evidence.

CPS: We hope conviction can comfort the family

Nazir Afzal, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West, said "everyone connected" with the case was extremely saddened by the news of the death of Francis Andrade, who is believed to have taken her own life after giving evidence against sex abuser Michael Brewer, and his wife Kay. He said:

In a way this demonstrates all too clearly the terrible effect that sexual abuse can have on victims for years and decades after the crime.

It underscores why the people who commit these vile acts, and particularly those who target the young, must be pursued and brought to justice.

We know that reliving abuse is extremely difficult and every effort was made to support the victim throughout this prosecution. For now, our thoughts are with the victim's family, and we hope this conviction can provide them with some measure of comfort, however small it may be.

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Sex abuse victim 'visibly agitated' as she gave evidence

48-year-old Frances Andrade, who was sexually assaulted as a child by the former director of music at Chetham's school of music, Michael Brewer, was visibly agitated as she gave evidence. She complained her molester was smiling at her in the dock.

I keep seeing Mike smiling and he is driving me mad. He is right there.

Judge Martin Rudland said Mrs Andrade had taken personal issue with some of Brewer's barrister's questions, Ms Kate Blackwell QC.

Ms Blackwell said she was "indulging in the realms of fantasy" and several times said her testimony was "simply not true". Mrs Andrade responded:

You are hugely insulting, even though it's your job. I just hope these things have never happened to you, I really do.

I am not in the realms of fantasy and I really understand why so many cases have not come to court.

The judge indicated that Miss Blackwell had acted perfectly properly and professionally in her line of questioning.

Sex abuse victim 'kills herself' after giving evidence

A woman who was sexually abused by a leading youth choir director is believed to have killed herself during his trial, it can be reported.

The body of violin teacher Frances Andrade was found at her home less than a week after she gave evidence against Michael Brewer at Manchester Crown Court.

Brewer was convicted of five counts of indecently assaulting her at the age of 14 and 15 when she was known as Frances Shorney. He was cleared of raping Mrs Andrade when she was 18 at his then home in Chorlton, Manchester

More: Brewer guilty of indecent assault

Choirmaster guilty of sex abuse dating back 30 years

A choirmaster has been found guilty of sexually abusing a music student in his office 30 years ago when she was aged just 14 and 15. Michael Brewer's former wife, Kay Brewer, was also found guilty of indecent assaulting the same victim as an adult at their family home.

Michael Brewer, the founding artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain
Michael Brewer is the founding artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Credit: Press Association

The victim did not consider it sexual abuse at the time, and did not make an official complaint against Michael Brewer who worked at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester. Get more on this story from ITV News Granada.