Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Ex-choirmaster given six years for abusing former pupil

Michael Brewer who was sentenced for abusing a former pupil at one of Britain's top music schools
Michael Brewer who was sentenced for abusing a former pupil at one of Britain's top music schools
Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Kay, who were today sentenced for their part in the sexual abuse of a former pupil at one of Britain's top music schools
Michael Brewer and his ex-wife Kay, who were today sentenced for their part in the sexual abuse of a former pupil at one of Britain's top music schools

A former choirmaster has been jailed for six years for sexually abusing a former pupil at one of Britain's top music schools.

Michael Brewer (68) was convicted last month of indecently assaulting Frances Andrade (48) - when she was an underage student at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester.

The mother-of-four from Guildford in Surrey gave evidence against him in his trial at Manchester Crown Court but a week later she took her own life before the jury reached its verdicts.

Brewer's ex-wife Kay, 68-year-old Kay Brewer was handed down a 21-month sentence after she was convicted at the same trial of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade when she was 18.

Michael Brewer, of Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, was convicted of five counts of indecently assaulting his victim when she was 14 and 15 and known as Frances Shorney.

The abuse took place in his office and in his camper van, which he used to drive her out of the school grounds and get her to perform oral sex on him.

He was cleared of raping Mrs Andrade when she was 18 at his then home in Chorlton, Manchester.

Keen churchgoer Kay Brewer, of Knowl Gap Avenue, Rossendale, Lancashire, was cleared of aiding and abetting the alleged rape but convicted of one count of indecent assault against the complainant - said to have taken place on the same night as the alleged rape.

Brewer, who was awarded an OBE for services to music in 1995, resigned as music director at Chetham's at the end of 1994 after his affair with another pupil, then aged 17, was uncovered.

But the affair was hushed up, the court heard, and Brewer went on to become the artistic director of the National Youth Choirs of Britain, to direct the World Youth Choir, serve as an adjudicator in international competitions and lead BBC workshops for the programme Last Choir Standing in 2008.

One of his ensembles at the National Youth Choir gave a private performance to the Queen at Balmoral in 2007.

Following the verdicts, the family of Mrs Andrade said they believed the court system had let her down and criticised the judicial process.

Her son Oliver said: "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."

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