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Caroline Flack’s mother was threatened with arrest over daughter’s treatment by prosecutors, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 12:38 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 12:42 05 August 2020

An inquest has been held into the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack. Miss Flack pictured at a book signing at WH Smith in Norwich in 2015. Picture Denise Bradley.

An inquest has been held into the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack. Miss Flack pictured at a book signing at WH Smith in Norwich in 2015. Picture Denise Bradley.

Archant

The mother of Norfolk television presenter Caroline Flack was threatened with arrest for speaking out over the treatment of her daughter, an inquest has heard.

An inquest has been held into the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack.  Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Matt Crossick.An inquest has been held into the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/Matt Crossick.

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 allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, former tennis player and model Lewis Burton, in December.

She immediately stepped back from her forthcoming presenting duties following the allegations.

Her death came the day after being told the Crown Prosecution Service was pressing ahead with court action against her.

An inquest into her death, held before coroner Mary Hassell, resumed on Wednesday after it was initially opened and adjourned on February 19.

No members of Miss Flack’s family are present at the hearing in Poplar, east London, although her mother, Chris Flack, who lives in Norfolk, and twin sister Jody Flack are watching proceedings via videolink.

In a statement read out in court, Miss Flack’s mother, who could be seen wiping tears from her eyes, 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.

“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.”

Miss Flack’s 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”.

Her mother added: “An awful picture was sold to the press, Caroline was told not to speak while all the time her heart was breaking.

“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.”

MORE: Caroline Flack’s family releases powerful message she wrote days before she died

Miss Flack’s twin sister Jody said in a written statement that her sister was “in a very anxious state of mind” before her death and said an ambulance had been called for her four times previously.

She said: “Heartbreak is something Caroline found extremely difficult.

“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 added: “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.”

She said sections of the press were “hounding her” and had paid the neighbours to inform her on their movements.

Jody Flack said: “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.”

Lewis Burton, Flack’s boyfriend with whom she had the argument which resulted in the court case, said in a written statement: “The last time he saw Caroline she was very upset, in fact devastated, she was not in a good place emotionally.

“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.”

It was not stated in court when Mr Burton last saw Miss Flack.

MORE: ‘Why can’t they let my beautiful daughter rest in peace?’ - Caroline Flack’s mother’s anger at prosecutor

Earlier the inquest heard that paramedic David O’Toole said he entered Miss Flack’s rented flat in Stoke Newington on February 15.

A post-mortem examination found no traces of alcohol, but the presence of zopiclone, used for insomnia, just above the therapeutic range. Diazepam was present in a therapeutic amount.

Pathologist Professor Michael Sheaff found Miss Flack died from hanging.

A statement read out from Tamsin Lewis, a psychiatrist and lifestyle medicine practitioner, said she had been contacted by Miss Flack’s personal assistant on December 17, 2019.

She said: “I was told that Caroline was in the middle of a media crisis and could not sleep. She was incredibly distressed and needed some sleeping aids. Prior to the message, I wasn’t aware who she was.

“I was escorted to her room - she was very distressed and tearful. She was scrolling the media reports on her phone.”

MORE: Final farewells to Caroline Flack at private funeral

Ms Lewis said Miss Flack had “a bandaged finger” following a fight with her boyfriend, “but said it was nothing more than a lover’s tiff, heightened by alcohol”.

She added: “I spent much of the time listening to her concerns about the current media storm, her relationships and her family.

“Her mood appeared low with a reactive effect, for example every time her phone notified her.

“She reported having panicky feelings all day... A sense of impending doom.”

She said Miss Flack did not say she had suicidal intent.

“She said she had been drinking excessively to numb herself,” Ms Lewis said.

“She said sleep had been impossible.”

The inquest continues.

• For help and support visit www.norfolkandwaveneymind.org.uk. Alternatively call the Samaritans 24/7 free helpline on 116123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org


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