Caroline Flack took her own life as she felt 'it would all come down on her', coroner rules

6 August 2020, 14:37

Caroline Flack took her own life, a coroner has ruled
Caroline Flack took her own life, a coroner has ruled. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

TV presenter Caroline Flack took her own life as she could not face the media scrutiny and publicity of a domestic violence case, a coroner has ruled.

The Love Island host, 40, was found dead at her north London home on February 15 as she was four weeks away from standing trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

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.

The court heard that Ms Flack had attempted suicide in the past, including drug overdoses.

Reaching a verdict of suicide this afternoon, Coroner Mark Hassell said: “Caroline Flack hanged herself at home on the morning of February 15, 2020 because of an exacerbation of fluctuating mental ill health and distress.

“While her overall mental state had several causes, the act exacerbating it was as a result of press interest and publicity surrounding her forthcoming criminal trial.”

The case was heard at Poplar coroners court
The case was heard at Poplar coroners court. Picture: PA

She told the Flack family she was “very sorry for the loss of such a young life in such a needless way”, and said Flack had struggled to cope with being in the public eye.

“She had difficulties In spite of the fact she may led what to some may have seemed like a charmed life”, she said.

“Actually the more famous she got, the more some of the difficulties increased.“She had to cope with the media in a way that most of us don’t.”

Her tearful mother Christine said: “I totally agree, I think you’ve got it spot on.

"We know you are not allowed to say certain things and it's up to us if we want to take it any further, and we don't. You're spot on."

Concluding, the coroner recorded a death of suicide caused by hanging.

The coroner 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.

"It was played out in the national press - and that was incredibly difficult for her.

"She faced the prospect of not working in the job she loved, losing a great deal.

"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 nodded.

Caroline Flack was 'seriously let down by the authorities', inquest hears
Caroline Flack was 'seriously let down by the authorities', inquest hears. Picture: PA

The statement from Chris Flack and her daughter Jody, added: "Jody and I would like to thank the coroner for the intelligence and compassion she brought to these proceedings.

"She treated Caroline with dignity and respect and allowed us to ask questions and finally get answers to things that have been giving us sleepless nights ever since Caroline felt she had no choice but to take her life rather than face the humiliation of a show trial."

Mrs Flack said she "fully appreciates" that domestic violence "needs to always be taken seriously", but said the alleged assault involving Flack and boyfriend Lewis Burton was far from that.

She added: "I believe she (Flack) was a celebrity who some felt needed to be made an example of, as opposed to being treated as anyone else would have been, which is all Caroline wanted.

"I don't believe Caroline was treated as anyone else would have been."

Mrs Flack added in her statement: "The initial decision to caution her would have been accepted by Caroline and she would have been alive today."

She said she did not believe DI Lauren Bateman, of the Metropolitan Police, treated Flack's case fairly in appealing against the decision to caution the presenter, adding: "Had Caroline not been a celebrity this matter would have ended that night."

Mrs Flack added: "As for the CPS, their view changed from there being nothing serious about this incident to describing the injury sustained by Lewis as 'serious'.

"Both the CPS and the police came to this inquest to cover up their part in Caroline's death."

Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK.

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