World-renowned Royal Academy of Music soloist admits sex offences against three former pupils

Duncan McTier, 59, is recognised as one of the world’s foremost double bass soloists and teachers. He has pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court

Royal Academy of Music double bass teacher Duncan McTier, from Isleworth, Middlesex, arrives at Liverpool Crown Court

Royal Academy of Music double bass teacher Duncan McTier, from Isleworth, Middlesex, arrives at Liverpool Crown Court Photo: PA
A world renowned musician who taught at some of Britain’s most prestigious music schools has admitted carrying out sex offences against three of his former pupils.
Duncan McTier, 59, who is one of the world’s foremost double bass soloists, and was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, indecently assaulted two of his students and attempted to assault another between 1985 and 1994.
During one incident at the Purcell School of Music in Harrow, the now divorced father of two told a 17-year-old student, “my wife doesn’t understand me” before putting his arm around her and making a “drunken grab” for her breasts.
On two other occasions, while teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, McTier fondled female students in their 20s.
Each of his victims were described as “highly gifted musicians”, who were left deeply upset by his unwanted advances.
McTier of Isleworth, west London, had been due to go on trial at Liverpool Crown Court, but pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault and one of attempted indecent.
But he escaped jail after the judge gave him a suspended prison sentence, telling him part of his punishment was that he would never be able to hold his head up in society again.
McTier, had been the Professor of Double Bass at the Royal Academy of Music in London, but was suspended from the position after being charged and has now resigned.
Opening the case against him, Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, said the first offence had taken place almost 30-years ago in 1985, when McTier had been teaching at the Purcell School of Music in Harrow, north west London.
He told the court that following a lesson, McTier, who was in his early 30s and married, had invited a 17-year-old pupil to join him on a sofa and drink wine.
Mr Cadwallader said: “By that stage he was drunk and was using lines which can perhaps be summarised as, ‘my wife doesn’t understand me’.”
He said the teacher had then put his arm around the girl and held it there for 20 minutes while the girl sat frozen.
The court was told McTier then made a “drunken grab” for her breasts, but she knocked away his hand.
Two months later she had warned him never to try anything similar in the future, but McTier had responded that she would never get a prestigious musical position.
The two further assaults took place in 1988 and 1994, while McTier was teaching at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
The court heard how in the first incident he had been drinking wine and had put his arm around a young woman before touching her breasts through her clothing.
Mr Cadwallader said the victim, who was in her 20s, had been shocked but had not wished to make a fuss and had left immediately.
His final victim, who was also in her early 20s, had been having a lesson with McTier in March 1994 when he lunged at her out of the blue while they were sat on a sofa together.
David Toal, mitigating, said the prosecution had a “significant impact” on the world renowned musician, who had lost most of his teaching work after resigning from the Royal Academy of Music.
Mr Toal said: “He’s a different individual from the one who has acted in the way described. His life is a world away from the dock of a criminal crown court, in every other respect he’s a decent, law abiding citizen.”
Passing sentence Mr Justice MacDuff said: “You will never be able to hold your head as high in society again and that is to your shame but also your punishment.
“It’s a long time ago, but that behaviour as you know was shameful and horrid for somebody who had the trust of students and took advantage of your position, or tried to, because you could influence their potential careers and that’s what makes this the more serious. You took steps to try to begin sexual liaisons with three of your students.
“At the time it must have been an awful experience for them, how to deal with you.”
A formal not guilty verdict was recorded on a fourth charge of attempted indecent assault against McTier.
McTier was arrested by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in an investigation triggered by the conviction last year of Michael Brewer, former director of music at Chetham”s School of Music in Manchester.
Brewer was found guilty of sexually assaulting Frances Andrade, a pupil at the school, from the age of 14. She killed herself after giving evidence against him.

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