Violinist is found dead after abuse court ordeal

Frances Andrade. Photo / Supplied
Frances Andrade. Photo / Supplied

The way the judicial system treats sexual assault victims is under scrutiny after a professional violinist killed herself after she gave evidence at the trial of a choirmaster who abused her.

Frances Andrade, 48, was found dead at her Surrey home six days after she testified against Michael Brewer, 68, who sexually assaulted her when she was a teenage pupil at the renowned Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

Brewer, the school's former director of music and a leading youth choirmaster, was yesterday found guilty of five counts of indecent assault against his former pupil.

A jury was told he had abused her at his office in the school when she was aged 14 and 15.

His ex-wife, Hilary Kay Brewer, 68, was also found guilty of an indecent assault against Andrade when she was 18 at the couple's home.

Jurors, who had seen a visibly agitated Andrade give her evidence over two days last month, were not told of the tragedy until they had delivered their verdicts.

Judge Martin Rutland, who warned the Brewers to expect to be sent to jail, said Andrade, the mother of four children, had not left a note.

But her son Oliver said yesterday her family believed she committed suicide following her court ordeal, saying "the court system let her down".

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111. Or call Youthline 0800 376 633, Lifeline 0800 543 354, Depression Helpline 0800 111 757, What's Up 0800 942 8787 (noon-midnight).

- Independent

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