CPS defends decision to drop charges against Nicky Butt and not Caroline Flack

The Crown Prosecution Service has defended its decision to drop an assault charge against former footballer Nicky Butt but pursue the case against Caroline Flack.

Ex-Manchester United player Butt, 45, had been accused of beating his estranged wife Shelley Barlow last April, but the case was discontinued when prosecutors offered no evidence.

It is understood that Mr Butt's defence was that he accidentally damaged her mobile phone, and did not know how she had sustained a cut to her hand.

The CPS came under fire in the wake of the death of TV presenter Flack, 40, who apparently took her own life while awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.

Credit: PA

A spokesman said that the circumstances of the two cases were different and that no more details could be revealed because they involved private family matters that had not been discussed in open court.

When deciding whether to pursue a case, prosecutors must consider firstly whether there is enough evidence, and secondly whether it is in the public interest to do so.

The CPS spokesman said: "It is not appropriate to compare unconnected cases, as deciding whether the public interest test is met depends on the individual circumstances of each complaint."

This morning Ms Flack's family released an unpublished Instagram post written by the presenter in which she maintained that the incident was an accident.

She said: "I have always taken responsibility for what happened that night. Even on the night. But the truth is .... It was an accident.