ECHO COMMENT: In wake of Jimmy Savile scandal will courts protect the victims?
AS the Cheltenham connections of tragic Frances Andrade emerge, further questions must be asked about the court ordeal she went through.
It is thought that she took her own life because of what she suffered during the trial of her former music teacher.
Michael Brewer, now 68, was found guilty of five charges of indecently assaulting Mrs Andrade when she was 14 and 15.
We don’t yet know what sentence will be imposed on Brewer for what he did. But at least, unlike Mrs Andrade, we know that he was convicted.
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She died soon after other serious charges against him were dropped earlier in the trial.
It will be down to an inquest to decide what happened but, if she did indeed take her own life, everything points to her having been left devastated that she wasn’t being believed in court.
Her family have criticised the lack of support she was given throughout and that, in seeking to defend Brewer, his solicitor made Mrs Andrade herself feel she was on trial.
In the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, other cases involving historic incidents of sexual abuse will be appearing before the courts.
The police, the Crown Prosecution Service and everyone involved must surely learn from what seems to have happened here.
A vulnerable woman was convinced to give evidence against a man who had abused her more than 30 years earlier. She was in no fit state to do so.
In bringing cases of this kind, procedures must be in place not only to ensure a fair trial but also to support the alleged victim.
ANYONE who has visited France regularly will need no introduction to the new activity taking off in Woodmancote.
Boules is a regular sight in French towns and villages, where it is played with both passion and expertise.
The building of a new boules piste next to Woodmancote’s village hall will introduce many to the game. And its good to see there is a real drive to get new players involved.
As the many potential enthusiasts gathered for the launch they had to ensure they were dressed in their winter best. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before they’ll be able to play in some Continental-style sunshine.