A British coroner ruled on Thursday that reality TV host Caroline Flack killed herself. While facing an assault trial she feared would end her career and bring unbearable media scrutiny. The Love Island host was found dead in her London apartment on February 15, weeks before she was due to stand trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton.
“She had to deal with the media in a way most of us don’t”
North London Coroner, Mary Hassell said in an inquest verdict, “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.”
Speaking at Poplar coroner court in London, Hassell said. “Caroline had fluctuating mental ill health, she had had struggles in the past. 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.”
“She treated Caroline with dignity and respect”
The TV personality’s mother and twin sister, Chris and Jody Flack respectively, addressed the coroner’s court regarding the inquest into Caroline’s death. They claimed that in the days leading up to her suicide, she was “hounded by the press” because of the upcoming assault trial involving her boyfriend. An event that Chris described as a “show trial.”
After the inquest, Both Flack’s mother and sister issued a statement thanking the coroner for the intelligence and compassion she brought to these proceedings. “She treated Caroline with dignity and respect. She 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.”
Christine Flack, Caroline’s mom, said she “fully appreciates” that domestic violence needs to always be taken seriously. However, she noted, the alleged assault involving Flack and her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, was far from that. She added, “I don’t believe Caroline was treated as anyone else would have been.”
In Dec. 2019, Lewis called emergency services and alleged his girlfriend had “cracked his head” by throwing a lamp at him while he was sleeping. At the time, Flack disputed his claims, insisting they were fighting over his suspected infidelity. When she made a “flicking gesture” with her phone, which made contact with his head. She added she was surprised to see him bleeding “profusely.”
During the same night, Caroline wounded herself and was taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. The evaluation deemed she was of sound mind.
Burton said Flack sometimes “talked about taking her own life when she was extremely upset.” He said, “The media were constantly bashing her character, writing hurtful stories. What was worrying her most was the police case and losing her presenting job on Love Island. Plus not being able to see me.”
“I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities, in particular the CPS.”
Throughout the hearing, friends and family painted a picture of Flack falling apart in the aftermath of the highly publicized incident. Her mother Christine Flack directed much of the blame towards the Crown Prosecution Service. Which handles all criminal trials in England. They pursued a trial even after Burton dropped all charges.
“I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities. And in particular the CPS.” Her mom tearfully told the court via video chat. “I believe this was a show trial. I feel the prosecutor was unkind to Caroline and my family,” she continued. “Being well-known should not allow special treatment, but should not allow making an example of someone.”
“She had been drinking excessively to numb herself and reported having panicky feelings all day”
According to the Reports, psychiatrist, Tamsin Lewis told the court, Flack “said she had been drinking excessively to numb herself.” And “reported having panicky feelings all day.” The post-mortem examination found that no alcohol was present in Flack’s body at the time of her death. She had a slightly raised level of the insomnia drug, zopiclone, in her system. Plus the recommended therapeutic levels of diazepam.
“Caroline seemed very sad the day before her death. She seemed to have lost her fight.”
According to Flack’s twin sister, Jody, “Caroline seemed very sad the day before her death. She seemed to have lost her fight.” Jody said she became alarmed when she couldn’t contact her sister on the night of her death, and called friend, Louise Teasdale to help. Louise and her dad Stephen rushed to Flack’s apartment.
According to Reports, after retrieving a spare key from the landlady, Stephen managed to enter the home and found Flack unconscious.
“When I said goodbye to her that day I never thought it would be for the last time”
“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,” Jody reportedly told the court. “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.” Flack’s mother 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.”
After the coroner’s verdict, Flack’s mother described her daughter as “beautiful, fun, opinionated, kind, loyal, full of confidence, and full of fears.” But she added.“Because she was successful and because she was so open about her life and her loves, she became an easy target for cruel and spiteful people who, if they knew the pain they caused, would be ashamed. Caroline you were loved. I love you. Those that would have harmed you can’t touch you now.”