Michael Brewer has been found guilty of indecent assault
Michael Brewer has been found guilty of indecent assault

The woman who was sexually assaulted by one of Britain's leading choirmasters killed herself just days after being cross-examined.

Michael Brewer OBE, and his former wife Hilary were convicted at Manchester Crown Court of indecently assaulting a 15-year-old girl over a four-year period more than 30 years ago, carrying out the offences at his Manchester home and at Chetham's School of Music.

His ex-wife Hilary, known by her middle name Kay, was also found guilty of indecently assaulting the victim as an adult at their home. However the jury found Mr Brewer not guilty of raping the victim when she was 18 and one account of indecently assaulting the victim as a child in his home.

After the trial, the judge revealed to the jury that the victim Frances Andrade died in an apparent suicide in the immediate aftermath of her cross-examination. She was 48 at the time of her death.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided to carry on with the trail and the judge ruled that news of Andrade's death should be kept a secret from the jury to ensure a fair trial.

Judge Martin Rudland told the court: "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 of which she took her own life."

Judge Rudland said how she was "clearly undergoing a cathartic experience, whatever the source" while she took the stand against Brewer.

The mother-of-four, from Guildford, Surrey, who was married to viola player Levine Andrade, was helped from the public gallery by one of her sons after giving evidence on 16 and 17 of January.

Claire Moreland. Head of Chetham's School of Music, said: What we have learned over the course of the past few weeks has shocked us to the core. The passage of time between the offences and now does not lessen this shock.

"Mr Brewer has been found of committing the most appalling acts during his time at this school and he breached the trust placed in him by the school and its staff and, most importantly, the students.

On behalf of the current school staff, I wish to express my profound and sincere apology and regret. Most of all I wish to express the sorrow and sympathy we feel for the family of our former student, who died under such tragic circumstances and had to endure so much."

Detective Chief Inspector Dave Pester, from South Manchester division, said: "This case was initially investigated by Surrey constabulary and then referred to GMP [Greater Manchester police], at which point a specially trained detective was allocated to investigate the offences and to act as a single point of contact for the victim.

"Throughout the investigation and trial, the victim was supported by Greater Manchester police and other partner agencies. At no time did the investigating officer believe that the victim was anything other than determined to give evidence in this case. She was fully aware of the judicial process and of the special measures that were available to her as she gave evidence."

Mr Brewer quit his post at Chetham's in 1994, following an inquiry into his activities.

Peter Cadwallader QC, prosecuting, described Mr Brewer as a brilliant and charismatic teacher, but a man who "could not keep his hands off" female pupils. He was artistic director at the National Youth Choir when he was arrested last year.