The inquest into the death of Love Island presenter Caroline Flack is taking place over two days this week.
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Caroline Flack’s mother has said her daughter was “seriously let down by the authorities” before she died – and also accused her boyfriend of leaking a photo of the bloody scene from the night of the star’s arrest.
Flack, 40, died at her flat in north London in February just a few weeks before she was due to go on trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Her mother Christine Flack and twin sister Jody both submitted statements to her inquest, which started on Wednesday, and were tearful as they appeared at the coroner’s court in east London via video-link, along with other witnesses.
Paramedics, a prosecutor and a Met Police detective inspector all gave evidence during the proceedings, along with two of the star’s friends who were with her on the morning of her death.
Mrs Flack echoed a statement put out by the star’s management after she died, saying she believed the prosecution against her daughter was a “show trial” and that she had been let down, in particular by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The CPS decided it was in the public interest to charge the star with assault despite initially deciding just to caution her, the inquest heard.
“Being well known should not allow special treatment, but should not allow making an example of someone,” Mrs Flack said in her statement.
“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.”
Later in the hearing, Mrs Flack asked about a photo published by some newspapers following Flack’s arrest.
She told the court Mr Burton had sent the picture to an ex-girlfriend.
“Lewis sent the photo of the blood and sent it to his friend,” Mrs Flack said, during evidence given by the star’s friend Mollie Grosberg.
Ms Grosberg replied: “As far as I know, this is the God’s honest truth, she never mentioned a word to me that he had sold or given the photo to an ex-girlfriend. That was never mentioned to me.”
In response, Mrs Flack said: “She said it to me and it was devastating that she found out.”
Following her arrest and initial court appearance in December 2019, the TV star had been subject to much scrutiny in the press and on social media.
Ms Grosberg, who visited the TV presenter’s house along with another friend the day before her death, described how Flack suffered more with her mental health the more famous she became.
“Increasingly over the last few years she had a lot of heartache and the press seemed to pick up a lot on her,” she said.
“She was very sad all the time. Normally, the kind of person she was, she could pick herself up.
“But she couldn’t after [her arrest in] December… she lost who she was and she couldn’t get it back.”
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Ms Grosberg said she had phoned the non-emergency 111 number after becoming concerned about Flack on the evening of 14 February last year and had later called for an ambulance.
One of the paramedics called to Flack’s flat told the inquest they had “no power” to force her to go to hospital because she was assessed as having “capacity” to make her own decisions.
Instead they told her friends that they would have to do some “babysitting”.
Ms Grosberg said the TV star was “scared to go to prison” and kept saying that the lives of her family members had been “ruined” by her arrest.
Flack’s twin sister, Jody, also told how the star had spent “the last few months of her life hiding inside, scared of the abuse”.
She said her sister’s life and reputation were “falling apart to the point of no return because of a false accusation” after she was branded “an abuser” on the front pages of national newspapers.
Ms Flack also claimed the incident had resulted in a “minor injury” to Mr Burton but more serious injuries to her sister.
Mr Burton, 28, had said he did not support Flack’s prosecution and in a statement read by the coroner, he described how the last time he had seen her she was “very upset, in fact devastated”.
He said the media were “constantly bashing her character” and “generally hounding her daily”.
Just hours after Flack’s death, her management released a statement hitting out at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pressing ahead with a “show trial” despite knowing she was “vulnerable”.
However, following a review of the way the TV presenter’s case was dealt with, the CPS said it found the decision to go ahead with the trial was “handled appropriately”.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Lisa Ramsarran, a deputy chief crown prosecutor, said case handlers examined evidence including Mr Burton’s 999 call, injuries he sustained, and a summary from Flack’s interview with police.
They initially decided to caution her but police appealed, the hearing was told.
She said the CPS’s legal manager subsequently “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.
Ms Ramsarran said that at the time of Flack’s death, the case had been “kept under continuous review”.
She also told the inquest that prosecutors looked at the star’s mental health when the case was first reviewed, but said that following an assessment in a psychiatric unit at the time of her arrest “her risk was deemed at that time to be ‘low'”.
Ms Ramsarran also told the court that the CPS received no updates on Flack’s mental health from her legal team after December.
Flack left behind her twin sister Jody, elder brother Paul, elder sister Elizabeth and her parents Ian and Christine.
The inquest continues and is due to conclude on Thursday.
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