CAROLINE FLACK faced nothing more serious than a caution for her alleged assault on boyfriend Lewis Burton until the Metropolitan Police demanded a rethink, her inquest was told yesterday.
The 40-year-old Love Island presenter repeatedly attempted suicide over the prospect of a ‘show trial’, her family said, following her arrest last December when police were called to her home by Mr Burton.
‘She attempted to take her own life the night before she appeared in court,’ her twin sister Jody said.
‘I believe the shame was too much to deal with. It was our belief it would not be happening to her if she wasn’t in the public eye.’
Her mother Christine, weeping as she appeared by video link, told the inquest her daughter was ‘seriously let down by the authorities’. She singled out the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pursuing the case.
‘Being well known should not allow special treatment but it should not allow for making an example of someone,’ she said.
But the CPS’s Lisa Ramsarran said prosecutors were content to issue the presenter with a caution because she had admitted striking Mr Burton. They changed their mind after the Metropolitan Police decided ‘a caution was not an appropriate disposal’.
Ms Ramsarran said she told the star’s legal team on February 13 the prosecution would go ahead — two days before she was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London. Jody desperately tried to resuscitate her sister after letting herself into her home with friends and finding her body.
Her friends had called paramedics the previous evening when they found her overdosing after she sent them a message to say she would kill herself. But she refused to go to hospital and did not answer when they returned the next day.
Ms Ramsarran confirmed that Mr Burton had asked the CPS to drop the charges. ‘He made it clear from the outset that he was not supportive of the prosecution,’ she said.
Christine Flack claimed that Mr Burton had sent a photo of bedsheets bloodied during the alleged assault to a former girlfriend who leaked it to the press.
‘That killed her,’ she said. ‘It was devastating that she found out.’ The inquest at Poplar coroner’s court, east London, continues.