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East Lancashire choir man: I was in love with pupil, 17
7:00pm Thursday 24th January 2013 in East Lancashire
A TOP choir director accused of raping a former pupil told a jury he fell in love with another teenage student at the age of 49 and was ‘desolate’ when she ended the relationship.
Married Michael Brewer, 67, who was awarded an OBE for services to music, quit the internationally renowned Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester after the affair with the 17-year-old girl was discovered.
Prosecutors at Manchester Crown Court say it was part of a pattern which showed his unhealthy interest in girls in their early and mid-teens while he was the school’s director of music.
Brewer is accused of committing a string of indecent assaults against an underage girl at Chetham’s more than 30 years ago and is also said to have raped her when she was 18 in the presence of his ex-wife, Hilary Kay Brewer, also 67, who lives in Haslingden.
Last week the woman whose affair led to Brewer's resignation, described to the jury how the relationship progressed after she had just turned 17, from innocent hugs to passionate kisses and then fondling of her breasts in his school office and practice rooms.
She told the jury she found herself quickly out of her depth, felt she was in love with him but was not ready for sex. She did not consider it abuse at the time but felt differently now as an adult.
Giving evidence yesterday, Brewer confirmed he was in love with her in the autumn term of 1994.
His barrister, Kate Blackwell QC, asked him: “How did you feel towards her at this time?” Brewer replied: “If I could use these words, I was in love.”
They went on to tell the girl’s mother about his feelings for her but he said he ‘effectively committed suicide’ as the mother recorded their phone conversation and then passed it on to the headteacher. He said he had told the mother that the relationship was ‘inappropriate’ and ‘not fitting for someone of my age and my position’.
When he was called to see the then headteacher, the Rev Peter Hullah, he had decided to resign on the spot, he said.
Months earlier he had discovered his wife had had a relationship and his father had several strokes.
“I resigned, then a couple of days later I had been awarded the OBE and then two days later my father died,” he said.
The court heard his wife was aware of his relationship with the pupil.
He continued to serve as the music director of the National Youth Choir, a post he held until this court case.
On the directions of Judge Martin Rudland, the jury recorded not guilty verdicts on five counts of indecent assault on a child against Brewer due to insufficient evidence on how old the complainant was at the time of the allegations.
Brewer, of Swarthmore Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham, denies rape and eight counts of indecent assault.
Hilary Kay Brewer, of Knowl Gap Avenue, denies one count of indecent assault and aiding and abetting rape.