Violinist Frances Andrade 'failed' by mental health services
- 25 July 2014
- From the section England
A violinist who died a week after giving evidence at a sex abuse trial of her former teacher was "failed" by mental health services, a coroner says.
Frances Andrade, 48, was found dead at her home in Guildford, Surrey, on 24 January 2013, a week after testifying against ex-choirmaster Michael Brewer.
Coroner Richard Travers told the inquest at Woking Coroner's Court she died after taking a "lethal overdose".
He said new rules were needed to ensure vulnerable witnesses were supported.
Mr Travers said he would be writing three reports, two to the director of public prosecutions and one to the local health service, calling for changes.
Brewer was jailed for six years in 2013 for indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade.
The abuse took place while Mrs Andrade was a student at Chetham's School of Music, in Manchester, in the 1970s and 1980s.
The inquest was told she spiralled into despair after giving evidence at the trial of Brewer and his ex-wife, Hilary Brewer.
Mr Brewer, from Selly Oak, Birmingham, was stripped of an OBE given for services to music after being jailed for five counts of indecent assault.
Mrs Brewer was also found guilty of sexual abuse and jailed for 21 months.
At the inquest, Mr Travers ruled out a verdict of suicide but said he could not be sure if Mrs Andrade intended to kill herself.
He said her mental health was initially assessed as being a "red" priority, but it was accidently listed as "amber" in records.
The lack of urgency surrounding her care was "quite extraordinary", he said, adding: "There was a real failure to provide Fran with the care that some two months before it was recognised that she needed."
Mrs Andrade was on anti-depressants and had overdosed twice before her death, once in December 2012 and the other time in January 2013.
Mr Travers said Mrs Andrade had told doctors the overdoses had been triggered by anxiety that came from the court case.
"Her reason to overdose was not to kill herself but was a way to cope with the court case," he said.
Mrs Andrade's husband, Levine, welcomed the coroner's recommendations calling for the legal system to do more to help vulnerable people when they give evidence in court.
"I think that all the services involved really looked into what went wrong," he said.
"They've all tightened up their measures and hopefully for the next lot of victims something will have changed for the better."