Caroline Flack: Love Island presenter killed herself ‘after being told prosecution was certain’, coroner rules
PUBLISHED: 16:29 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:15 06 August 2020
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Television presenter Caroline Flack hanged herself at home after discovering she was definitely going to be prosecuted for assaulting her boyfriend and feared press intrusion, a coroner has ruled.
Coroner Mary Hassell said the fact the alleged assault case was “played out in the national press” was “incredibly difficult for her”, and she feared the loss of her hard-fought career.
The 40-year-old former Love Island and X Factor host was found hanged at her home in Stoke Newington on February 15.
The previous day, 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 concerns he had been cheating on her. Friends said she was expecting it to be dropped after her lawyers applied for the case to be thrown out.
Returning a determination of suicide at Poplar Coroner’s Court today, 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.”
Weeping, Flack’s mother Chris Flack told the coroner via videolink: “I totally agree, I think you got it spot on.”
Ms Hassell also found that Ms Flack’s mental health problems increased the more famous she got.
She said: “Caroline had fluctuating mental ill health, she had had struggles in the past. She had had difficulties. In spite of the fact she may have led - to some - a charmed life, actually the more famous she got, the more some of these difficulties increased - she had to deal with the media in a way most of us don’t.”
Caroline’s mother Chris Flack had accused the police and prosecutors of having it “in for” her daughter, claiming they wanted to take her to court due to her “celebrity status” rather than give her daughter a caution for assault. Deputy chief Crown prosecutor Lisa Ramsarran said the code for prosecutors was correctly applied however, and both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service said they would not do anything differently.
Ms Flack admitted hitting Mr Burton when officers were called to her home in London in December 2019, saying she did so because she found out he was cheating on her, the inquest heard.
When coming to the conclusion that a caution was not appropriate, prosecutor Kate Weiss who reviewed the decision to charge Ms Flack was down to various factors, such as the violence involved, that Mr Burton was sleeping, that a caution is rare for a domestic violence case, and that police said she had showed no remorse in interview. The inquest heard Flack’s mental health deteriorated and she killed herself in February 2020, weeks before she was due to stand trial.
Yesterday friends described how Ms Flack had serious concerns about her trial in March, but had met with her lawyers on February 14 when she thought the case might be dropped.
However her legal team outlined the CPS’s decision, made the previous day, to go ahead with court action.
Ms Flack was found hanged at her home the following day.
Her death prompted an outpouring of sorrow from celebrity friends, colleagues and fans, who referenced one of the former Strictly winner’s social media posts from December in which she urged people to “be kind”.
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