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Caroline Flack: Love Island presenter was ‘seriously let down by authorities and hounded by the press’, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 12:59 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:22 06 August 2020

Caroline Flack. Picture: PA/ Ian West

Caroline Flack. Picture: PA/ Ian West

PA Wire/PA Images

Television presenter Caroline Flack was “seriously let down by the authorities” and was “hounded” by the press over her forthcoming trial in the weeks before she killed herself, her inquest has heard.

The 40-year-old, well known for hosting Love Island and The X Factor, was found hanged at her home in Stoke Newington on February 15.

She had been due to stand trial for assaulting her boyfriend, former tennis player and model Lewis Burton in December, after police arriving at the bloodstained scene described it looking like “a horror movie”.

In a statement read out at Poplar Coroner’s Court, Lewis Burton, Flack’s boyfriend with whom she had the argument which resulted in the court case, said Ms Flack was “very upset” the last time he saw her, although it was not stated when this was.

He added: “Sometimes she talked about taking her own life when she was extremely upset.

“The media were constantly bashing her character, writing hurtful stories ... generally hounding her daily.

“What was worrying her most was the police case and losing her presenting job on Love Island, plus not being able to see me.”

Coroner Mary Hassell also read statements from Ms Flack’s mother Chris and twin sister Jody in which they outlined concerns they had about her.

Ms Flack’s mother said: “I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities and in particular the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) for pursuing the case. I believe this was a show trial.

“I feel the prosecutor was unkind to Caroline and my family. I was threatened with arrest when I tried to speak.

“There was disputed evidence in court. The result of the media attention of this hearing forced Caroline to leave her home which she loved.

“Being well known should not allow special treatment, but should not allow making an example of someone.”

She added: “She lost the job she worked so hard at. I was with her the weekend before her death, in her new flat.

“When I said goodbye to her that day I never thought it would be for the last time.

“I kissed her and she said: ‘Bye mum’.

“She asked if all the family would go with her to court and we said of course.

“I was called on Saturday lunchtime (February 15) to say Carrie had died.

“I believe she was heartbroken. I know nothing will bring her back, but I do want people to know what a lovely, kind, generous person she was.”

Jody said she believed her twin sister had tried to kill herself in December, ahead of her first appearance at the magistrates court for assault.

She said she was “in a very anxious state of mind” before her death and said an ambulance had been called for her four times previously.

“Heartbreak is something Caroline found extremely difficult,” she said.

“She attempted to take her own life the night before she appeared in court. I believe the shame ... was too much to deal with.”

She described how sections of the press were “hounding her” and claimed they had paid the neighbours to inform them on her movements.

Jody added: “Caroline spent the last few months of her life hiding inside, scared of the abuse.

“Caroline seemed very sad the day before her death - she seemed to have lost her fight.

“She was called a ‘killer’ and an ‘abuser’ on the front of the newspapers.

“The press and the public found this a very entertaining angle, and it was spiralling out of control.

“Her life and reputation she worked hard to build was falling apart ... because of a false accusation.

“It was our belief it would not be happening to her if she wasn’t in the public eye.

“At worst, her career and reputation, so precious to her, had been taken away.”

To contact the Samaritans, call 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or click here.


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