CAROLINE Flack’s tragic suicide came amid fears over her court case, friends said last night.
They blasted the CPS for pursuing her to a looming trial for alleged assault while knowing she was suffering mental trauma.
And friends say Caroline, 40, had spent weeks being tormented by the idea that police bodycam footage of the incident, showing her in a state of undress and severely distressed, would be shown in court.
Police were so concerned about the self-inflicted deep wounds that she was taken to hospital for urgent treatment. The star was treated by medics for 12 hours before she was deemed fit enough to be interviewed by officers under caution.
Details of Caroline’s injuries raise enormous questions about her mental state on the night.
They also cast doubt on the CPS decision to prosecute the TV presenter — and one made before Valentine’s Day to pursue her to trial.
Friends say her utter dread over release of the police bodycam footage may have driven her to suicide.
However, Samaritans advice states: “There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to die by suicide and it is rarely due to one particular factor.”
A legal source said last night: “Caroline should never have been prosecuted. She should have been given urgent mental health treatment and psychiatric care.
“When the police arrived, both she and Lewis were intoxicated.
“Lewis had called police because he was very scared for Caroline.
“She was clearly emotionally distressed when the police arrived and she was covered in her own blood.”
The Sun on Sunday yesterday told how Caroline had received news on Valentine’s Day that, despite her appeal, the CPS were ploughing ahead with her case.
She and Lewis had pleaded with authorities for it to be dropped given her vulnerable mental state and the lack of public interest.
A court heard last year that Caroline was accused of hitting Lewis, 27, around the head with a lamp before flipping over a table after officers arrived.
Magistrates were also told how police bodycam footage had captured Caroline in the moments after the incident.
The source added: “Caroline was terrified the footage of her distressed and covered in blood would be shown to the world in court.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123
Sources close to her legal team say that after Caroline was arrested, lawyers for the CPS had initially decided not to charge her.
It is understood senior police officers pressed for a charging decision.
In the end, the CPS used guidelines designed to protect long-term sufferers of domestic abuse to charge her — despite Lewis supporting Caroline and not wanting her to be prosecuted.
A legal source said: “The CPS were relying on legislation that protects people suffering long-term domestic abuse. Those laws are there to help the authorities prosecute without having the victim onside or needed to give evidence.
“Laws designed to help victims who are too afraid to take on their abusers and too terrified to speak in court. But this was a completely different kind of case.
“Lewis wasn’t a frightened victim. He wanted to defend Caroline. He said the CPS version of what happened that night was wrong.
“This was a one-off incident where a minor injury was caused under disputed facts.
“The CPS knew they were dealing with an emotionally distressed woman who had caused herself significant harm during the incident.”
Dr Charlotte Proudman, a human rights barrister, said: “This smacks of a show trial.
“It feels like it was nothing more than an attempt by the CPS to show how rigorously it pursues domestic abuse cases, especially one involving a male complainant.”
Dr Proudman who specialises in cases involving violence against women and girls, added: “I’m baffled as to why the CPS were so determined to continue with this case.
“There were clear mental health issues at the heart of this case and her vulnerability, both at the time of the incident and afterwards were well known.
“Someone who was an alleged perpetrator has become a victim of the system.”
Caroline was due to stand trial at Highbury magistrates court on March 4 charged with common assault after the December 12 incident in Islington, North London.
At a previous hearing, the court heard that while under caution Caroline told police she would kill herself and that she said: “I did it.”
Magistrates heard how Lewis had dialled 999 and told the operator: “She’s trying to kill me, mate.”
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
Prosecutors said he was hit over the head with a lamp as he was sleeping after she found texts on his phone which had enraged her.
Lewis later stood by Caroline throughout the court case, despite being banned from contacting her.
He posted after the December 23 hearing: “What I witnessed today was horrible. She did not hit me with a lamp. Gutted I am not allowed to protect her right now.”
Caroline had made no secret of her mental health struggles since her first court appearance in December.
She had also spoken publicly and bravely about her long-standing issues.
In an Instagram post on October 14, she wrote: “I wanted to write something about mental health day last week but I was knee deep in work.
“And some days it’s hard to write your feelings or your not in the right place.
‘The last few weeks I’ve been in a really weird place . . . I find it hard to talk about it . . . I guess it’s anxiety and pressure of life . . . and when I actually reached out to someone they said I was draining.
“I feel like this is why some people keep their emotions to themselves.
“I certainly hate talking about my feelings. And being a burden is my biggest fear.”
In a statement, her management criticised the CPS.
Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: “The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline.”
The CPS extended “deepest sympathies” to Caroline’s family and friends.
It said “Given the tragic circumstances, we will not comment on the specifics of this case at this stage.”
In a tweet, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said of Caroline’s passing: “Shows we must do so much more as a society to look out for each other — whether online or off.”
The Sun says
HEALTH minister Matt Hancock is right when he says “we must do much more as a society to look out for each other, whether online or off”.
The coming days after Caroline Flack’s tragic passing will not only be one of grief, but reflection — as to how Britain lost one of its brightest stars.
Caroline’s energy, kindness and huge talent made her one in a million, and a massive favourite with people of all ages and among our team at The Sun.
Charities like the Samaritans who work to prevent suicide say there are usually many complex reasons for why someone chooses to take their own life.
It is rarely due to one particular factor.
Certainly, there will be hard questions for the Crown Prosecution Service.
Why did it push forward with Caroline’s case?
Her boyfriend wanted to drop the charges, and her management team have said she was vulnerable.
From our close family, to friends, to neighbours, we can all positively impact on others’ wellbeing.
Whether it’s asking if someone is OK, or offering an ear for a chat, even the smallest act may make a difference.
We may never know the true causes of Caroline’s death, but if there’s anything we can take from this terrible tragedy, it’s remembering to reach out.
- If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123