Police to look again at decision to charge Caroline Flack with assault | Caroline Flack


Police have been ordered to reinvestigate a complaint from Caroline Flack’s mother that her daughter’s fame had influenced the decision to charge the TV presenter with assault.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has instructed the Metropolitan police to look again at whether Flack was treated differently because of her fame when she was charged with assault rather than receiving a caution, which prosecutors had initially indicated would be the preferred course of action.

The Love Island host took her own life at the age of 40 in February 2020 after learning prosecutors would press ahead with the charge over an incident involving her boyfriend, Lewis Burton.

Her mother, Christine Flack, told the BBC she still wanted to know why her daughter had been charged with the assault. “I just want those answers to make me feel better and to make me know that I’ve done the right thing by Caroline,” she said.

“It leaves us really sad and really angry because we want to know why they charged her. I just want the truth out there. I know it won’t bring her back but I’ve got to do it for her.”

Asked if she felt the decision to charge her daughter had contributed to her death, Flack said: “Oh, totally. Totally. She couldn’t see a way out.”

She said as a result she had lost trust in the police: “There’s no trust at all. Do not trust at all. I just want the truth out there.”

Flack found out the day before her death that she would be prosecuted with the charge that she hit Burton with her phone while he slept, over concerns he had been cheating on her. Friends said she was expecting the case to be dropped after her lawyers applied for it to be thrown out.

After her death, Flack’s management team and her mother accused the Crown Prosecution Service of preparing a “show trial”, since Burton had said he did not support a prosecution and Flack had denied the charge against her.

The coroner, Mary Hassell, found that Flack had killed herself because she knew she was being prosecuted and could not face the media coverage.

At the inquest in August 2020, Lisa Ramsarran, a deputy chief crown prosecutor, said the CPS’s original intention was to caution Flack, rather than charge her, but that was overturned after an appeal from the Met, who felt Flack had not made full admissions in her police interview.

In December 2019, Burton had dialed 999 claiming Flack was “trying to kill him” while he was asleep and that he was bleeding “profusely” after he was hit on the head with a lamp, she said.

In the police interview, Flack admitted making a “flicking gesture” with her phone, which made contact with Burton’s head, after reading texts that questioned his fidelity, but said she was surprised to see an injury and blood, Ramsarran said.

Prosecutors decided a caution was not appropriate, and that there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to authorize a charge of assault by beating, she added.

Flack’s mother accused the police and prosecutors of having it “in for” her daughter, accusing them of taking her to court because of her celebrity status.

The Met spokesperson said: “Following a review, the IOPC agreed with the MPS [Metropolitan police service] that service was acceptable in relation to seven areas of the complaints relating to the response and handling of the incident by the MPS.

“The IOPC has directed the MPS to reinvestigate one element of the complaints. This relates to the process involved in appealing the CPS decision to caution Ms Flack. We will re-examine this element of the investigative process. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Caroline’s family from her.

This is not the first investigation into how Flack’s case was handled. In March 2020, a freedom of information request from the Daily Mirror revealed that the CPS would launch an internal review, which was not uncommon, especially in complex or sensitive cases.

Around the same time, the IOPC decided against investigating how the Me dealt with the assault case on grounds there was no indication of a causal link between the actions or omissions of the police and Flack’s death.


www.theguardian.com

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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