Caroline Flack ‘seriously let down by prosecutors,’ inquest hears
- Credit: PA
The inquest into the death of Norfolk TV celebrity Caroline Flack has heard she was “seriously let down by the authorities” and “hounded” over her forthcoming trial in the weeks before she killed herself.
The 40-year-old former Love Island and X Factor star took her own life at her London flat on February 15.
Miss Flack, who grew up in Norfolk, had been due to stand trial for assaulting her boyfriend, former tennis player and model Lewis Burton, in December.
No members of Miss Flack’s family are present as her inquest in London resumed on Wednesday although her mother, Chris Flack, and twin sister Jody Flack were watching proceedings via videolink.
Coroner Mary Hassell, at Poplar Coroner’s Court, read statements in which both outlined concerns they had about the presenter.
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Miss Flack’s mother could be seen weeping on video link as her statement was read. In it she said: “I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities and in particular the CPS 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.”
MORE: Caroline Flack’s family releases powerful message she wrote days before she diedTwin sister Jody said she believed she tried to kill herself in December, ahead of her first appearance at the magistrates court for assault.
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She said: “Her life and reputation she worked hard to build was falling apart. It was our belief it would not be happening to her if she wasn’t in the public eye.”
She said sections of the press had been “hounding her” and had paid the neighbours to inform on her movements.
The presenter’s family had increased concerns about her mental state as the trial loomed, while Mr Burton also pleaded to the CPS to drop the case.
Two long-term friends said Miss Flack sent them a message the night before she died saying she was going to kill herself. They discovered her on her sofa having swallowed some tablets and called the emergency services. However, paramedics were unable to persuade Miss Flack to attend hospital, the inquest heard
The friends left the following morning. She was discovered hanged a few hours later, with paramedics finding a handwritten note on an open magazine speaking about wanting to “find harmony” with her boyfriend.
Her death prompted an outpouring of sorrow from celebrity friends, colleagues and fans, who referenced one of her social media posts from December in which she urged people to “be kind”.
MORE: School dance group in Norfolk to Love Island fame: Caroline Flack’s rise to stardomLisa Ramsarran, a deputy chief Crown prosecutor in north London, told the inquest the case involving Flack and her boyfriend was referred to CPS Direct, which considered evidence supplied by police investigators and determined “a caution would be an appropriate disposal”.
However, the police asked for a review of the case by the Crown Prosecution Service legal manager, who Ms Ramsarran said “came to the view that a caution was not an appropriate disposal”, and that there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to authorise a charge of assault by beating.”
Miss Flack was subsequently charged.
Following a further review prosecutors wrote to Miss Flack’s defence on February 13 to confirm that we would be continuing with the prosecution.
The presenter met with her legal team to discuss the case the following day - amid suggestions, her friends said, she thought the case was being dropped. She killed herself on February 15.
MORE: ‘Why can’t they let my beautiful daughter rest in peace?’ - Caroline Flack’s mother’s anger at prosecutorMs Ramsarran told the inquest prosecutors looked at Miss Flack’s mental health when the case was first reviewed by CPS Direct.
She was later assessed in the psychiatric unit of a hospital, but told medics she was not suffering from mental health issues at the time, Ms Ramsarran said.
She added: “Her risk was deemed at that time to be ‘low’. It was confirmed there was no suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm.”
Ms Ramsarran said prosecutors were not provided with any information from Flack’s legal team about a deterioration in her mental health after December 20.
Miss Flack grew up in Great Hockham and East Wretham. She went to school in Watton.
More than 200 relatives and friends from across the world gathered for her funeral at Greenacres at Colney on the edge of Norwich in March.
The inquest was adjourned to continue on Thursday.