Chetham's choirmaster Michael Brewer jailed for sexual abuse

Michael and Hilary Brewer Michael and Hilary Brewer both denied all charges

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A former choirmaster at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester has been jailed for indecently assaulting a pupil more than 30 years ago.

Michael Brewer, from Birmingham, was convicted of sexually abusing Frances Andrade, who killed herself during the trial, from the age of 14.

Brewer, 68, was sentenced to six years in jail, at Manchester Crown Court.

His ex-wife Hilary Brewer, also 68, was sentenced to 21 months for indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade.

'Powerful position'

On sentencing, Judge Martin Rudland described Brewer as "a sexual predator" and said his once outstanding career is now over.

He said he had used his "powerful position" as her teacher to groom Mrs Andrade.

Start Quote

Being repeatedly called a 'liar' and a 'fantasist' about a horrific part of her life in front of a court challenged her personal integrity”

End Quote Oliver Andrade Victim's son

Judge Rudland told him: "You offended against Frances Andrade when she was but 14-years-old and you were about 34.

"She was a child in your care as her teacher."

Last month, a jury convicted Brewer, of Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, of five counts of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade between 1978 and 1982 when she was known as Frances Shorney.

The abuse took place in his office and in his camper van.

Brewer was cleared of raping his victim when she was 18 and one charge of indecently assaulting the victim as a child in his home.

Hilary Brewer, also known by her middle name Kay, of Knowl Gap Avenue, Haslingden, Rossendale was found guilty of indecent assault when Mrs Andrade was an adult at their then family home.

'Preyed upon'

Judge Rudland described her assault on Mrs Andrade as "brutal".

He said: "You preyed upon and exploited a young girl who was vulnerable, pliable and whom you knew was also being exploited sexually by your husband."

He told her it was "an ugly and serious incident which must have had a terrible and hugely confusing effect on your 18-year-old victim."

She was cleared of aiding and abetting rape. The couple had both denied all charges.

Frances Andrade Frances Andrade gave evidence from the witness box

Mrs Andrade, a 48-year-old mother of four, was found dead at her home in Guildford, Surrey, less than a week after she gave evidence at the trial.

Following the verdicts, her family 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."

Bravery 'vindicated'

Greater Manchester Police's Det Ch Supt Mary Doyle said after sentencing: "The judicial process was somewhat thrust upon her when the matter was reported to police by a friend and I must credit Frances' bravery in facing her abusers head-on in court.

"It was heartbreaking she is not able to see she has been vindicated for the bravery she consistently showed, which has today ended with the Brewers being sentenced and brought to justice."

She said: "Frances' son Oliver said at the time the Brewers were convicted that it was one of her hopes that the bravery she exhibited would mean that other students who had also suffered abuse at Chetham's would be able to receive justice."

Det Ch Supt Doyle said the force is currently investigating alleged historical sex abuse at Chetham's School of Music as a result of calls from former pupils following publicity surrounding this case.

She said the investigation was "ongoing" and while refusing to comment on numbers of victims or suspects involved she said the force is continuing to get formal accounts and complaints from ex-pupils.

Brewer resigned as music director at the world renowned school in 1994 after his affair with another pupil, then aged 17, came to light.

The affair was covered up, the court heard, and Brewer went on to direct the World Youth Choir and worked on the BBC's Last Choir Standing television programme.

He was appointed an OBE in 1995.

A spokesman from Chetham's said it was "shocked by what we learned during the trial".

"Mr Brewer breached the trust placed in him by the school, its staff and most importantly the students he had responsibility for at the time, no-one more so than Frances Andrade who is again in our thoughts today."

The spokesman added that child protection measures at the school have since changed dramatically.

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