Chetham's School of Music ex-tutor Michael Brewer jailed over sex abuse

Ex-tutor at prestigious music school sent to prison for taking advantage of pupil, 14

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 4:07am


A music teacher at one of Britain's most prestigious music schools was jailed for six years yesterday after being found guilty of sexually abusing a pupil.

Michael Brewer, 68, was director of music at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester until 1994. He was told by the judge that he was a "predatory sex offender" who used his "powerful position to select and groom" his victims.

His ex-wife, Hilary Brewer, also 68, was sentenced to 21 months in prison after being found guilty last month of sexually abusing the same girl.

Frances Andrade did not live to see her abusers sent to jail. She killed herself halfway through the trial after being branded a "fantasist" in court. She was 48. Three of her four children and her widower, Levine Andrade, were in court yesterday to see justice done.

Her death prompted a nationwide police investigation after dozens of former pupils from Chetham's and other music schools and conservatoires came forward to accuse other teachers of sexually abusing them or their peers as children or young adults.

So far, one other teacher has been arrested as part of the police inquiry. In February, Wen Zhou Li, 57, a world-renowned violin tutor who has worked at Chetham's and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester since at least 1996, was arrested on suspicion of rape. He denies the charges and is on police bail.

Also under investigation is Malcolm Layfield, who was head of strings at the RNCM. He was forced to step down last month after admitting his position had become "untenable".

Yesterday, Judge Martin Rudland expressed surprise that many of the great and good who gave character references for Brewer did so despite knowing he had enjoyed a sexual relationship with another sixth-former - not Andrade - at Chetham's in 1994. When the then head found out, Brewer was allowed to leave with his head held high.

Pupils were told his departure was due to health reasons and he went on to be awarded an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth and worked with hundreds of young people as director of the National Youth Choir.

Allegations have since been made against at least 10 current or former Chetham's teachers, as well as tutors from the RNCM, Guildhall and the Royal Academy of Music in London, Wells Cathedral School in Somerset and Purcell School in Hertfordshire.

Andrade, a professional violinist when she died, was abused by Brewer in 1979 and 1980, when she was 14 and 15 years old.