The desperate fight to save Caroline Flack: Inquest hears how friends tried to break into tragic TV presenter’s house where she was found dead after leaving a note to Lewis Burton before killing herself
- Former Love Island presenter was found hanged at her home on February 15
- Twin sister, Jody, phoned friend Louise Teasdale after arriving at her home
- They both forced entry and found the presenter’s body, inquest heard today
Caroline Flack’s friend and twin sister tried desperately to break into the house where she killed herself after leaving a note to Lewis Burton, the star’s inquest heard today.
The 40-year-old former Love Island and X Factor presenter was found hanged at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, on February 15, 2020.
The first witness statement was that of Stephen Teasdale, father of Flack’s friend Louise, who said he went to the scene after Flack’s sister Jody phoned to say she could not get in to Flack’s address.
He said: ‘We came to the flat and tried to force entry. We thought about phoning the police but knew the landlady … We got the key and let ourselves into the flat.’
Mr Teasdale said he found Flack’s lifeless body, hanged.
He said: ‘I brought her (down) and Jody started CPR. We were giving CPR for somewhere between five and ten minutes, then the police took over.’
On a coffee table was a note that referenced, positively, ‘Lewis’, believed to be Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Caroline Flack attending National Television Awards at the O2 in London on January 22, 2019
The 40-year-old former Love Island and X Factor star was found hanged at her home in Stoke Newington, north-east London, on February 15, 2020
Paramedic David O’Toole said he entered the property later and saw two women distraught on a sofa.
He said the victim appeared to have been ‘dead for a number of hours’ and that the women said they last saw her alive at 10.30am that day.
One of the crew pointed to a handwritten note placed on an open magazine on the coffee table.
It referenced, positively, ‘Lewis’, believed to be Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton.
Pc Tim Child said there was evidence of suicide attempts elsewhere in the property.
Det Sgt Jonathan Maharaj said there was evidence of ‘a number of calls’ made and received on Flack’s mobile phone, and that she conducted searches for ‘people who blame’ as well as for suicide.
Coroner Mary Hassell welcomed Flack’s mother, Christine, and sister, Jody, to the hearing. They are watching via a video link.
In her opening remarks resuming the inquest, she said: ‘We are here simply to find the answer to four questions – who died, when they died, where they died and how they came about their death.’
The court heard the deceased was born Caroline Louise Flack, on November 9, 1979 in Enfield, her occupation was a television presenter, and that she died at home in Stoke Newington on February 15.
Pathologist Professor Michael Sheaff found Flack died from hanging.
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.’
She said Flack did not say she had suicidal intent.
‘She said she had been drinking excessively to numb herself,’ Ms Lewis said. ‘She said sleep had been impossible.’
Before her death, Flack had been due to stand trial for assaulting her boyfriend, former tennis player and model Lewis Burton in December, after police arriving at the bloodstained scene described it looking like ‘a horror movie’.
Flack at the Global Gift Gala in London in October 2019
She immediately stepped back from her forthcoming presenting duties.
Flack’s family had increased concerns about her mental state as the trial loomed, while Mr Burton also pleaded to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to drop the case.
The inquest was opened and adjourned during a four-minute hearing in Poplar, east London, on February 19 when the coroner heard the celebrity was found ‘lying on her back’.
She was declared dead at the scene and her body was identified by her twin sister, Jody Flack, who will be among those listening in today via video link, The Sun reported.
A family lawyer previously said the television personality died by suicide.
Her death prompted an outpouring of sorrow from celebrity friends, colleagues and fans, who referenced one of Flack’s social media posts from December in which she urged people to ‘be kind’.
Flack’s management team criticised the CPS for conducting a ‘show trial’ which prompted a review into her death.
However, the CPS found the case was handled ‘appropriately’.
Flack’s mother Chris said her daughter’s legal team and psychologist warned about the potential for the former Strictly champion to kill herself.
‘The CPS were fully aware of these matters and the risk when they decided to continue the prosecution,’ Mrs Flack said.
She described an allegation that her daughter hit Mr Burton over the head with a lamp as ‘false’.
She also said the claim was denied by both Mr Burton and Flack and ‘was completely inconsistent with the injury that Mr Burton sustained’.
Floral tributes placed outside Flack’s former home in North London shortly after her death
Flack’s family also posthumously shared a social media post the troubled star had written but was persuaded by advisers not to publish before her death in which she disclosed having an ’emotional breakdown’.
She wrote: ‘I’ve been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time.
‘But I am not a domestic abuser. The reason I am talking today is because my family can’t take anymore.
‘I’ve lost my job. My home. My ability to speak. And the truth has been taken out of my hands and used as entertainment.
‘I’ve been pressing the snooze button on many stresses in my life – for my whole life.
‘I’ve accepted shame and toxic opinions on my life for over 10 years and yet told myself it’s all part of my job. No complaining.
‘The problem with brushing things under the carpet is …. they are still there and one day someone is going to lift that carpet up and all you are going to feel is shame and embarrassment.’
Her suicide was the latest connected to Love Island, following the deaths of contestants Mike Thalassitis, 26, in March 2019 and Sophie Gradon, 32, in June 2018.
Miss Gradon’s boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, 25, died three weeks after he found his girlfriend.
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