The Bafta award profitable Love Island and X issue host Caroline Flack was discovered lifeless at her house in Stoke Newington, London on 15 February. A pathologist discovered that Ms Flack died from hanging. The inquest at Poplar Coroner’s Court docket occurred over two days on 5 and 6 August with coroner Mary Hassell ruling that her dying was suicide. The coroner mentioned that Ms Flack had killed herself after an ‘exacerbation and fluctuation’ of ailing well being and misery. 

Kate Bex

In December 2019 Ms Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton dialled 999 claiming that Flack had been ‘attempting to kill him’ whereas he was asleep and that he had a cracked head after being hit with a lamp. When police arrived on the flat Ms Flack had self harmed. She was taken to hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and deemed match for interview. In interview Ms Flack admitted making a ‘flicking gesture’ along with her cellphone which made contact with Mr Burton’s head, however she was shocked to see any damage.

The CPS authentic resolution was to not cost and to ask the police to warning Ms Flack. The CPS steerage on cautioning states that ‘a warning is a severe matter. It’s recorded by the police and could also be cited in subsequent courtroom proceedings. It represents one type of entry into the felony justice system.’ CPS prosecutor Alison Wright informed the coroner that police appealed her resolution to not cost Ms Flack; ‘I’ve been knowledgeable that the police aren’t prepared to manage a warning. The police declare I’ve taken a biased view of the case as a result of Caroline Flack is a celeb.’

Ms Flack’s mom informed the coroner she believed the choice to prosecute was a ‘present trial’ however giving proof on the inquest, DI Lauren Bateman denied treating Ms Flack in another way as a result of she was well-known. DI Bateman informed the coroner that she had beneficial a prosecution as a result of Ms Flack had not proven regret for her actions and ‘there was no clear act of contrition.’ The coroner urged that the police officer was splitting hairs in what she thought of to be Ms Flack’s act of contrition. Bateman replied: ‘In my opinion, it wasn’t a transparent admission of what had occurred’.

The coroner additionally identified to DI Bateman that regret just isn’t one of many elements referred to within the steerage for out of courtroom disposals: ‘you might have accepted that regret shouldn’t have been taken under consideration, however you probably did take it under consideration.’

On account of the police enchantment, a second CPS prosecutor Kate Weiss reviewed the case and concluded {that a} warning was not appropriate. She cited numerous elements together with the violence concerned, that Mr Burton was sleeping on the time, {that a} warning is uncommon for a home violence case and repeated the statement from the police that Ms Flack confirmed no regret in interview. Nonetheless, it seems that by the point of this second overview, no matter Mr Burton had informed the police within the 999 name, the prosecution was unable to show whether or not it was a lamp, desk fan or cellphone that induced the damage to his head. Ms Flack was charged with widespread assault which means that the prosecution additionally accepted it couldn’t show that she had been ‘attempting to kill him’ or that she had ‘cracked’ his cranium as first alleged.

After all hindsight makes fools of us all, because the saying goes. Nonetheless, the Nationwide Police Chiefs’ Council Gravity Matrix is a decision-making device to help in deciding if an grownup offender might be handled by means of an Out of Court docket disposal. Not one of the aggravating elements for home abuse listed on the Gravity Matrix had been current and one of many two mitigating elements (good character) was current.

The Code for Crown Prosecutors states that ‘Prosecutors also needs to have regard as to if the suspect is or was on the time of the offence, affected by any important psychological or bodily ailing well being or incapacity as in some circumstances this will likely imply that it’s much less probably {that a} prosecution is required.’ The pressure that the felony justice system places on suspects from an early stage, notably first-time offenders, can’t be underestimated. There can be suspects who’re susceptible within the abnormal sense of the phrase however whose points don’t attain the edge of recognised psychological well being dysfunction. One of many difficulties could also be that Ms Flack was not affected by a recognised psychological sickness with an ICD or DSM classification however however there may be an argument that somebody who self harms is ‘affected by important psychological ailing well being’.

Caroline Flack

In line with the coroner, Ms Flack’s psychological well being deteriorated following her arrest. ‘I discover the explanation for her taking her life was she now knew she was being prosecuted for sure and she or he knew she would face the media, press, publicity – it might all come down upon her. To me, that’s it in essence’. Ms Flack’s mom wept as she informed the coroner; ‘I feel you’ve acquired it spot on’.

Ms Flack’s mom additionally mentioned: ‘she grew to become a simple goal for merciless and spiteful individuals who, in the event that they knew the ache they induced, could be ashamed.’ On the inquest proof emerged of the extent to which Caroline Flack struggled along with her psychological well being within the wake of the media storm surrounding the felony case; she self harmed on the evening of the incident, admitted she was suicidal to a few of her pals and had taken no less than one overdose. A transparent image additionally emerged of the impact the media storm had on Ms Flack’s capacity to hunt remedy for her psychological well being; a buddy informed the coroner that she ‘didn’t need something to come back out publicly that seemed like she was having a breakdown’. On the evening earlier than she died two pals had been so certain that she was having a breakdown that they referred to as paramedics to take her to hospital. It’s clear that Ms Flack didn’t need to go, no less than partly fuelled by issues over her privateness. The paramedics informed the coroner that Ms Flack gave them her sister’s title, that she denied being suicidal (regardless of being surrounded by drugs) and flatly refused to be taken to hospital.

The coroner requested DI Bateman: ‘if introduced with the identical scenario tomorrow, not making an allowance for what occurred afterwards, would you do in another way?’ When Ms Bateman replied; ‘No, completely not’ Ms Flack’s mom might be seen shaking her head on the reply.

One of many reliable functions of an inquest is to determine if there are classes to be discovered from previous experiences. The primary psychological well being consciousness week within the UK was in 2001. The primary Leveson enquiry reported in 2012 on the tradition, practices and ethics of the press. I’d enterprise to counsel that we have now recognized for a few years the teachings to be discovered, however battle to place them into follow.


Samaritans might be contacted on 116 123 or e-mail [email protected]


Kate Bex QC, felony barrister at Crimson Lion Chambers