Police arrest violin teacher, 57, over historic sex abuse claims at prestigious music school where choirmaster abused former pupil
Wen Zhou Li, 57, arrested by police investigating Chetham abusePolice are probing 20 reports of sexual offences reported by former pupils
Daily Mail Reporter
13:05 GMT, 14 February 2013
18:04 GMT, 15 February 2013
Held: Violin teacher Wen Zhou Li who came to Britain on the invitation of Yehudi Menuhin has been arrested by detectives investigating sex abuse at Chethams School of Music in the 1970s and 80s
A violin teacher who came to Britain on the invitation of Yehudi Menuhin has been arrested by detectives investigating sex abuse at Chetham’s School of Music in the 1970s and 80s.
Professor Wen Zhou Li, who has tutored some of the country’s brightest musical talents over the past 25 years, was last night being held on suspicion of rape.
The 57-year-old is the first teacher to be arrested following the conviction of Michael Brewer for indecently assaulting Frances Andrade, who committed suicide halfway through the trial.
Police have now received more than 20 allegations of sexual abuse from former Chetham’s pupils. They are thought to relate to six teachers.
One ex-student revealed she was shocked by the arrest. She said: ‘Violin teachers have to have physical contact, but there was never anything inappropriate.’
Li, originally from China, now a
professor at the Royal Northern College of Music but a former teacher at
Chetham's, was arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of rape.
A spokesman for the RNCM said: 'We can confirm that Wen Zhou Li has been suspended. We are unable to comment further.'
Greater Manchester Police Chief Supt
Russ Jackson said: ‘This investigation is looking into more than 20
individual reports of sexual offences reported by former pupils at the
‘In relation to
allegations made, we have today arrested a 57-year-old man from Cheshire
on suspicion of committing rape. This also relates to historic offences
and he will be interviewed later.
Probe: A man was arrested by police today investigating historical sex abuse at Chetham's School of Music
‘Various names have been mentioned in the press of people involved in offences. Clearly we will use this information, comparing it against allegations made.
‘If any of those publicly named wish to speak to police directly now, we will of course interview them to take their account. In the meantime we will continue to interview witnesses and victims.
‘These are historic offences which involved a relatively small number of teachers. We are working closely with victims and witnesses and will have specially trained officers to support them.’
Separately, an earlier version of this article included a report of allegations in The Times newspaper that the Chairman of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain had allowed Brewer to carry on working with children – despite fears being raised by Child Protection Services.
National Youth Choirs of Great Britain have since contacted us to say that, contrary to what was suggested by The Times it sought the advice of the police and child protection officers as soon as allegations were made about Brewer.
A statement issued by the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain says it 'acted upon discussions putting in place measures to ensure the protection of children under its' care. At no point during or prior to the trial [of Mr Brewer] were any questions raised of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain by the police or anyone else with regard to Mr Brewer's activities while in his role as Artistic Director of National Youth Choirs of Great Britain. As soon as Mr Brewer was charged, he was immediately suspended by the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and a new Director was appointed.
The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain is not, however, in any way complacent, and, in light of recent events, it is reviewing its past policies and procedures to ensure that further improvements are implemented. To this end, the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain has opened a dialogue with the NSPCC, who are offering support and guidance going forward.