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Caroline Flack begged for assault case to be dropped in note to boyfriend Lewis Burton

Caroline Flack boyfriend Lewis Burton
Caroline Flack begged for assault case to be dropped in note to boyfriend Lewis Burton (Picture: Rex / Instagram)

An inquest into Caroline Flack’s death has continued today at Poplar Coroner’s Court, in which it was revealed the Love Island host begged for an assault case against her to be dropped. 

The hearing resumed yesterday after lengthy delay, with the court hearing of a note she left for boyfriend Lewis Burton, before she died at her home on February 15, aged 40.

She had been arrested on suspicion of assault on December 13, 2019, following an incident with Lewis the previous day.

Her mum, Chris, has since shared a statement in which she claimed the ITV2 host was ‘let down by authorities’ for pursuing the case – which was read out in court yesterday.

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Beginning today’s hearing, Coroner Mary Hassell returned to the note Caroline placed on an open magazine at her home before she died by suicide – which was later discovered by paramedics.

Hassell said the handwritten note referred to finding ‘harmony’ Lewis and also asked for the court case to be dropped.

Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector Lauren Bateman was the first witness called to give evidence.

Caroline Flack inquest: Day two

  • The coroner has ruled Caroline Flack’s death as a suicide 
  • The 40-year-old was found dead at her Stoke Newington home in February, months after she was arrested on assault allegations
  • The inquest heard Flack begged for a court case over her assault charges to be dropped in a note
  • Police appealed against decision to caution Flack over assault
  • CPS prosecutor did not believe her charging was in public interest
  • Flack’s mum Chris ‘more upset now’ than at beginning of trial
  • Chris tells police officer: ‘My girl killed herself over assault appeal’

She explained she was the most senior detective on duty in the area on December 12, 2019, when Caroline was taken into custody for the alleged assault.

‘In relation to Caroline Flack’s interview, in my opinion there was no clear admission of guilt, it was unclear what she was admitting to,’ she told the court.

‘Obviously Mr Burton believed he was assaulted with a lamp when he was asleep, but that is not the account she had given.’

DI Bateman – who was not present for Caroline’s police interview – explained the lack of admission from her meant a caution was not appropriate.

Caroline gave an account to police at the scene, read to the inquest, in which she said: ‘I did, I whacked him round the head like that,’ and gestured a swinging motion with her right hand to police.

She told police: ‘I admit I did it.

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Caroline died on 15 February (Picture: WireImage)

‘I used the phone.

‘I had his phone in one hand, and my phone in the other.

‘I whacked him round the head – there’s no excuse for it, I was upset.’

CPS prosecutor Alison Wright did not believe that charging the late star was in the public interest.

Sections of her summary were read out, in which she said: ‘Flack states that she is going to kill herself as a result of Burton’s alleged cheating.

‘She has repeatedly admitted she assaulted him.

Caroline Flack and Lewis Burton - instagram
Lewis had been dating Caroline since August 2019 (Picture: Instagram)

‘I do not believe that the case is in the public interest to prosecute as the injured party does not support the allegation, there is no domestic violence history, the suspect is 40 with no previous convictions.

‘There is nothing so serious about this incident which means the guidelines (to issue a caution) need to be diverted from.

Wright said police challenged her decision not to charge Caroline, claiming she was influenced by the suspect’s celebrity status.

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Her report concluded: ‘I have been informed that the police are not willing to administer a caution.

‘The police claim I have taken a biased view of the case because Caroline Flack is a celebrity.

‘She should be and is in my opinion being treated exactly the same as any other suspect.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark R Milan/REX/Shutterstock (10447866i) Caroline Flack and Lewis Burton leaving Sexy Fish restaurant Caroline Flack and Lewis Burton out and about, London, UK - 16 Oct 2019
Caroline was arrested on December, 2019 (Picture: Rex)

Caroline’s mum, Chris Flack shook her head as Bateman appeared via videolink.

Questioning her decision to lodge an appeal for a formal charge, instead of an initial caution, she said: ‘I feel even more upset now than I did at the start.

‘I’m not legal, but I have been reading up on this.

‘I will never get Caroline back but she was not an abuser.

‘She (Caroline) cut her arm (to cause serious injury to herself)… and you were putting an appeal in to get her prosecuted, you never bothered to see her.’

‘Did you feel you needed to get involved in a minor assault? Why did you get involved?,’ she asked.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Anthony Harvey/REX/Shutterstock (10472828dh) Caroline Flack 'ITV Palooza!', Royal Festival Hall, London, UK - 12 Nov 2019 Wearing Zara, High-Street Brand
Tributes poured in for Caroline following her death (Picture: Rex)

To which DI Bateman responded: ‘I became involved because I was asked by the officers to make the appeal. The only officer who can do that is an inspector.’

‘You took her (Flack) away, he (Mr Burton) was allowed to take pictures of the blood of Caroline, send them to friends, and they appeared in the press,’ Chris said. ‘You didn’t investigate it.

‘If it had been… an ordinary person, you wouldn’t have prosecuted.

‘I see domestic abuse and I just think you should be disgusted with yourself so there is nothing we can do to bring Caroline back. I hope in hindsight you do regret this.

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‘This girl killed herself because you put an appeal through.’

Bateman emphasised her view that a caution for the offence was not in line with the guidance.

Caroline Flack
Caroline’s mum appeared in court via videolink (Picture: WireImage)

She told the court a senior lawyer would make the final decision over whether or not a caution was insufficient.

Deputy chief Crown prosecutor Lisa Ramsarran gave evidence via video link, and told the inquest she was ‘satisfied’ by the description of Lewis’ injury as ‘significant’ – after he was left with a small cut, but did not visit hospital.

Ms Ramsarran said: ‘I’m satisfied in the context of a charge of assault by beating, the injury is at the top end of what you might see.

‘This was a significant injury.’

Coroner Mary Hassell replied: ‘I’m really struggling to understand how this injury was regarded as significant.’

To which Ramsarran said: ‘Madam, I have given the explanation as far as I’m concerned – there was a breaking of the skin that was bleeding quite profusely at the scene.

Lewis Burton caroline flack
Lewis has spoken out following Caroline’s death (Picture: Instagram)

‘He was advised to get medical attention but was reluctant to do so and left the scene as quickly as possible.’

Chris could be seen shaking her head at this point.

The prosecutor added: ‘Caroline (Flack) accepted she caused the injury.

‘But the explanation essentially amounted to it being an accident, which is a defence and was the disputed issue which was going to be the issue at trial.’

The coroner asked Ramsarran if the CPS would do anything differently in future.

‘In preparation for this inquest I have had the opportunity to step back and look at this case,’ she commented. ‘I am satisfied that the code for Crown prosecutors was appropriately applied in this case.

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‘The only matter I would say is that obviously the inquest has heard a lot of information about the deterioration on Caroline’s mental health.

‘That was not known by the Crown Prosecution Service.’

Caroline’s mum accused the CPS and police of ‘having it in for’ the host.

She added to Ramsarran: ‘After listening to you and the first lady (DI Lauren Bateman), I feel even more that you had it in for Caroline.

‘I now know how Caroline felt and it is not very nice.

‘Thank you, coroner, for allowing us to ask questions today, it’s meant a lot.’

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