Mike Brewer, the former director of music at Chetham’s School of Music and director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, has been sentenced to six years in prison for five counts of indecent assault after a trial which concluded last month. His victim, Frances Andrade, had been under the age of consent.
Brewer’s ex-wife Hilary Kay Brewer, who was also convicted of one count of sexual assault occurring when the victim was 18, has been sentenced to 21 months in prison.
Frances Andrade, victim of the assaults, took her own life during the trial. Her family has since suggested that she was ‘heavily advised’ not to receive clinical therapy until the case had been heard in court; that she was not prepared for the experience of being cross examined in the way she was; and that ‘the court system let her down’.
Andrade was approached by prosecutors after a friend in whom she had confided went to the police independently. She agreed to press charges and give evidence to ensure ‘other students who also suffered abuse at Chetham’s would receive justice’.
Despite senior staff being aware of Mr Brewer’s inappropriate relationship with at least one other pupil his behaviour was, he said at the trial, ‘swept under the carpet’ and, though Brewer resigned from Chetham’s in 1994, police were not informed.
He founded the National Youth Choir in 1983 and formed Laudibus, the National Youth Chamber Choir, in 1992. He has also directed the World Youth Choir. ‘The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, until the trial, were not aware of the reasons behind Mike Brewer’s resignation from Chetham’s School in 1994,’ said a statement issued by the NYCGB.
‘Mike Brewer had been planning for retirement before his suspension following the allegations.’ The organisation appointed Ben Parry as its director in August 2012.
Since Brewer’s conviction Greater Manchester Police has been conducting an investigation based on the accounts of several former Chetham’s pupils.