Violinist 'turned down counselling'

A concert violinist took a final, fatal overdose after learning the jury in a trial against a music teacher who sexually abused her had delivered not guilty verdicts for some of the charges, her inquest heard today.

Frances Andrade had declined the offer of counselling
Frances Andrade had declined the offer of counselling

Frances Andrade died from a prescription drug overdose at her home in Guildford, Surrey on 24 January 2013, just a week after giving evidence in court about historic sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-choirmaster Michael Brewer.

Mrs Andrade, known as Fran, did not live to see her abuser jailed for six years for five counts of indecent assault, although Woking Coroner's Court heard the mother-of-four had discovered that a judge had instructed the jury in Brewer's case to find not guilty verdicts for several charges on January 23.

Detective Constable Mark Atkinson, the officer who led the case against Brewer, said: "There was no official process in place (to keep her updated with the trial). I would do it in due course. I did not contact Fran about it.

"From what I've heard afterwards Fran was aware because it was reported in the press."

The inquest also heard she told her GP and nurses in 2011 she did not want counselling because she believed police had said it would interfere with the investigation.

Earlier in the week Dr Alastair Bint, of St Luke's, who was Mrs Andrade's GP in 2011 when she first reported her anxiety said: "The police had advised her not to have any counselling because it interfered with case analysis. The reason why the police had told her they did not feel she should have counselling was because it might interfere with her recollections.

"I said I felt her mental health was more important and the criminal case was a separate issue for me. She was not persuaded."

But Dc Atkinson said he in fact strongly advised her to seek help and gave her the contact for the Rape and Sexual Assault Centre in Guildford, although she did not go through with counselling.

"I asked Fran if she was getting any help and what type of help she was receiving," he said.

"She advised that she had not got any help because it would have had an impact on the trial.

"I said this was absolutely not the case and that if she needed help I could arrange that.

"I was not aware she had declined help until after the trial."

The inquest also heard how even after a third overdose on 3 January 2013, Mrs Andrade, 48, had insisted she did not want to take her own life.

Juliet Mutumbani, a mental health nurse for the Surrey and Borders partnership NHS Trust's Home Treatment Team, said: "Mrs Andrade said she did not take the overdose to kill herself but as a way of coping with the court case.

"Her response was she had a family to think about."

Brewer, who taught at the prestigious Chetham's School of Music in Manchester before going on to direct the World Youth Choir, was later stripped of a music services OBE after being jailed for the assaults when Mrs Andrade was aged just 14 and 15.

In April this year, a serious case review by Surrey Safeguarding Adults Board said Mrs Andrade's death "could and should" have been prevented and mental health services failed to recognise she was vulnerable as she made repeated suicide bids.

Her death led to calls for the court system to improve how sexual abuse victims are treated.

The inquest continues.