1. ITV Report

Son's tribute to woman sexually assaulted by teacher

Frances Andrade was found dead after she gave evidence against Michael Brewer. Photo: Greater Manchester Police

Frances Andrade is believed to have killed herself after she gave evidence against her former music teacher Michael Brewer. He has been convicted of five counts of indecent assault.

All who met her quickly realized what an amazing person Fran was. She was kind, loving and always full of life.

Extremely talented, she quickly ascended through the music world, winning numerous awards for her violin playing, which has been described as 'the most passionate violin playing I have heard' and 'perfect in sound and expression'.

She raised four children with her husband of 25 years and is sorely missed by all. Throughout her life she had many tragic events fall upon her and coped with most with a strength few people could manage.

She was extremely resilient. However, 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.

After the case with Michael Brewer had been brought to the attention of the police by a third party her life was forced to change. Sticking to her morals she knew she must do what was right, to tell the facts as they were and leave it to the law to decide, even as she was only just beginning to see that Brewer's actions were indeed abuse.

One of her hopes was that the bravery she exhibited, and the other stories she knew would come out during the trial, would mean that other students who had also suffered abuse at Chetham's would be able to receive justice.

As always she was fighting for others more than herself. 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.

In the end, during her testimony and for the brief time afterwards, RASASC were the only ones to provide real help to her, only too late.

We have managed to raise close to £1000 for them at her funeral but any donations readers could give would be greatly appreciated. The support she received throughout the case varied hugely.

She regularly praised the policeman she was assigned as a contact who did all he could to help, however the court system let her down. She was kept in the dark about the case, not even being informed about final city dates until the last minute.

The court system meant that whilst the Brewer's had well over a year to prepare a case with their barristers, she did not have her own.

Being a case of the Crown Prosecution Service they had a barrister and she was simply the complainant not meeting him until the day of the case and talking for a scant 10 minutes outside of the court. This all meant that during the case she was unfamiliar with the process, unsure of what either barrister was trying to do and exceptionally uncomfortable throughout the entire thing.

In addition to this with the court in Manchester, so far from home, and the CPS only willing to accommodate her during testimony she was unable to attend the rest of the case, her only source of information on progress being the press.

It is of the utmost importance that those who have suffered sexual abuse have every effort made to make them feel safe and supported whether recent or historic.

This is the only way that we can ensure people can and will come forward in these circumstances and justice can be served.

– Frances' son Oliver Andrade

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