Home World News Caroline Flack killed herself after being told she would be prosecuted

Caroline Flack killed herself after being told she would be prosecuted

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Caroline Flack killed herself after being told she would be prosecuted

A coroner has ruled that TV presenter Caroline Flack killed herself at home after discovering she was going to be prosecuted for assaulting her boyfriend.

Returning a determination of suicide, Coroner Mary Hassell told the inquest into her death the fact the alleged assault case was “played out in the national press” was “incredibly difficult for her”, and she feared her career would crumble.

The 40-year-old former Love Island and X Factor host was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, on February 15, 2020.

The inquest heard that the day before her death, she had discovered prosecutors were going to press ahead with the assault charge after she hit Lewis Burton with her phone while he slept over fears he had been cheating on her.

Her friends said the star had expected the case to be dropped after her lawyers applied for it to be thrown out.

At Poplar Coroner’s Court, the coroner said: “Although her general fluctuating (mental) state was a background and important in her death, I find the reason for her taking her life was she now knew she was being prosecuted for certainty, and she knew she would face the media, press, publicity – it would all come down upon her.

“To me that’s it in essence.”

Flack’s mother Chris Flack wept as she told the coroner via videolink: “I totally agree, I think you got it spot on.”
After the hearing she slammed those who “took advantage” of her “loyal” daughter.

She said: “Many people loved and supported Caroline, they know who they are and I thank them all.
“Many people pretended to love Caroline and took advantage of her kindness and they know who they are.
“Caroline, you were loved. I love you.

“Those that would have harmed you can’t touch you now.”
She accused the police and prosecutors of having it “in for” her daughter and of taking Flack to court because of her “celebrity status”.

Mrs Flack said her daughter killed herself as a consequence of Detective Inspector Lauren Bateman’s personal decision to appeal against giving her daughter a caution for assault.
She also accused prosecutors of wanting to go ahead with the case, despite concerns about 40-year-old Flack’s mental health.

She told deputy chief Crown prosecutor Lisa Ramsarran: “After listening to you and the first lady (Ms Bateman), I feel even more that you had it in for Caroline. I now know how Caroline felt and it is not very nice.”

But Ms Ramsarran said the code for prosecutors was correctly applied and both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service said they would not do anything differently.

The inquest heard that Flack admitted hitting Mr Burton when officers were called to her home in London in December 2019 and said she did so because she found out he was cheating on her.
Prosecutors decided to charge Flack with assault after Ms Bateman, the Metropolitan Police inspector on duty at the time, contested their initial decision.

Prosecutor Kate Weiss reviewed the decision to charge Flack a week after the assault, citing factors such as the violence involved, the fact Mr Burton was sleeping and that a caution is rare for a domestic violence case.

She added that police said Flack showed no remorse when interviewed when coming to the conclusion that a caution was not appropriate.

Ms Weiss wrote: “In light of these factors, I believe a caution is not appropriate.”

Coroner Ms Hassell added: “It would be easy to gain an impression from this that for whatever reason Caroline isn’t liked – ‘She’s a celebrity and she must be dealt with severely’.

“I can understand why that impression could be gained by this document.”

Ms Ramsarran replied: “I don’t share your view that we are treating this defendant any different from anyone else.”
The inquest heard Flack’s mental health deteriorated and she killed herself in February 2020, weeks before she was due to stand trial.

Cathrina Hulse is a multi-media journalist for Birmingham Live and Birmingham Mail. 

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Mrs Flack told Ms Bateman: “If it had been… an ordinary person, you wouldn’t have prosecuted.

“This girl killed herself because you put an appeal through.”

Ms Bateman said: “I was not biased and I treat everyone the same.”
The inquest was told Flack had been discovered naked and covered in blood with a cut to her wrist when police turned up to the scene of the alleged assault last December.

She told officers: “I hit him (Mr Burton), he was cheating on me.”
Friends of the star said she had concerns about her trial in March but on meeting her lawyers on February 14, she thought the case could be dropped.

But the CPS decided to go ahead with court action and Flack was found dead at her home the following day.

Samaritans (116 123) samaritans.org operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at [email protected] , write to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA and visit www.samaritans.org/branches to find your nearest branch.

CALM (0800 58 58 58) thecalmzone.net has a helpline is for men who are down or have hit a wall for any reason, who need to talk or find information and support. They’re open 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Childline (0800 1111 ) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.

Other depression charities

Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information depressionalliance.org
Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying studentsagainstdepression.org
The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029 ) helps people who are struggling to cope – experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis. You can call them between 8pm and 6am every night.There are other depression charities.

Prosecutor Ms Ramsarran said the CPS looked at Flack’s mental health when the case was first reviewed, including evidence that the television personality self-harmed at the crime scene when she allegedly assaulted Mr Burton.

However, it was decided it was in the public interest to authorise a charge of assault by beating, particularly considering the domestic violence allegation.

Celebrity friends, colleagues and fans expressed sorrow at her death and referred to one of the celebrity’s social media posts from December in which she urged people to “be kind”.
To contact the Samaritans, call 116 123, email  [email protected]  or visit  https://www.samaritans.org/

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