Caroline Flack's mother fights back tears as she pays tribute to 'lovely' daughter at inquest

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Juliet Bremner

Caroline Flack's mother fought back tears as she paid tribute to her "lovely" daughter during the resumption of the inquest into the former Love Island presenter's death.

Ms Flack was found dead dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, on February 15.

The 40-year-old had been due to stand trial in March accused of assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton - a charge she denied. The court heard how Ms Flack had struggled to deal with the media scrutiny ahead of the trial.

Speaking at the inquest in Poplar, east London, on Wednesday, Caroline's mother Chris said: "Through all of this Caroline was told not to speak, not to tell her side of the story.

"The only person who was hurt that night was Caroline.

"An awful picture was sold to the press, Caroline was told not to speak while all the time her heart was breaking.

Chris Flack added she was with her daughter in her new home in Stoke Newington on the weekend Caroline died.

She said: "When I said goodbye to her that day I never thought it would be for the last time.

Caroline Flack fronted Love Island on ITV. Credit: PA

"I believe she was heartbroken. I know nothing will bring her back, but I do want people to know what a lovely, kind, generous person she was.

"She never spoke badly of anyone and was totally loyal, that's why she was always devastated when people close to her were happy to let her personal life appear in print."

Mrs Flack added: “I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities and in particular the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) for pursuing the case.

“I believe this was a show trial.

“I feel the prosecutor was unkind to Caroline and my family."

Floral tributes placed outside Caroline Flack’s former home in North London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Coroner Mary Hassell suggested Flack may have been telling paramedics she was not suicidal to get them out of her house.

The unnamed paramedic said: “We can only go on what we’re told.

“If they’re not giving us information we can’t probe them.

“When we did ask questions she did become quite frustrated – it was clear she didn’t want us there in the first place.”

Friend Mollie Grosberg disputed the female paramedic’s account that Caroline Flack was responding clearly that she did not have suicidal tendencies.

Ms Grosberg said: “That’s not what happened. That’s not accurate.

“She (Flack) was slurring her words. If I was a paramedic I could seriously not say she was coherent.”

A queue outside Poplar Coroner's Court in east London ahead of the resumption into the inquest of Caroline Flack. Credit: PA

Tamsin Lewis, psychiatrist and lifestyle medicine practitioner in Mayfair, said in a statement that she was contacted by Flack's personal assistant on December 17, 2019.

She said: "I was told that Caroline was in the middle of a media crisis and could not sleep. She was incredibly distressed and needed some sleeping aids.

"I replied saying I could go to review her that day, but I said I was a wellness doctor. Prior to message I wasn't aware who she was.

"I was escorted to her room - she was very distressed and tearful. She was scrolling the media reports on her phone."

Ms Lewis said Flack had "a bandaged finger" following a fight with her boyfriend, "but said it was nothing more than a lover's tiff, heightened by alcohol".

Ms Lewis added: "I spent much of the time listening to her concerns about the current media storm, her relationships and her family.

"Her mood appeared low with a reactive effect, for example every time her phone notified her.

"She reported having panicky feelings all day... a sense of impending doom."

Ms Lewis said Flack did not say she had suicidal intent.

Caroline Flack leaves Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December 2019 where she pleaded not guilty to assaulting boyfriend Lewis Burton Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

"She said she had been drinking excessively to numb herself," Ms Lewis said. "She said sleep had been impossible."

Lewis Burton, Flack's boyfriend with whom she had the argument which resulted in the court case, said in a written statement: "The last time he saw Caroline she was very upset, in fact devastated, she was not in a good place emotionally.

"Sometimes she talked about taking her own life when she was extremely upset.

"The media were constantly bashing her character, writing hurtful stories... generally hounding her daily.

"What was worrying her most was the police case and losing her presenting job on Love Island, plus not being able to see me."

Lewis Burton at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December. Credit: PA

Lisa Ramsarran, a deputy chief Crown prosecutor, told the inquest case handlers examined evidence including Mr Burton’s 999 call, injuries he sustained at the scene, and a summary from Flack’s interview with police before deciding to caution her. However, the police appealed. Ms Ramsarran said: “I understand the police did not feel this (a caution) was a suitable disposal in this case. “I think there was a suggestion at first she hadn’t hit Lewis Burton over the head, then that he had been reading text messages on his phone which she felt confirmed her suspicions of his fidelity. “Caroline’s version of events was that she had tapped Mr Burton on the head, firstly on the leg to wake him up, then in a flicking gesture made contact with his head at a time when she still had her phone in her hand. “She was surprised thereafter to see an injury that was then bleeding.”

Paramedic David O'Toole said he entered Ms Flack's property on the day of her death and found a handwritten note which referenced "Lewis", believed to be Flack's boyfriend Lewis Burton.

Pc Tim Child said there was evidence of suicide attempts elsewhere in the property and Det Sgt Jonathan Maharaj said there was evidence of "a number of calls" made and received on Flack's mobile phone. Ms Flack had conducted searches for "people who blame" as well as for suicide.

A post-mortem examination found no traces of alcohol, but the presence of zopiclone, used for insomnia, just above the therapeutic range. Diazepam was present in a therapeutic amount.

Pathologist Professor Michael Sheaff found Flack died from hanging.

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