03:36 GMT28 September 2020
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    Caroline Flack, who presented the UK version of Love Island, was found hanged at her flat in London in February. Twitter users are divided as to who is to blame - the tabloid media or the Crown Prosecution Service who decided to prosecute her for assault.

    A coroner ruled on Thursday, 6 August, that television presenter Caroline Flack committed suicide while on bail awaiting trial for assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.

    Ms Flack's family have accused the police and prosecutors of persecuting her because she was a celebrity.

    It has emerged that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) originally wanted to give her a caution but Detective Inspector Lauren Bateman appealed and they decided to prosecute.

    ​During the inquest the star's mother Christine Flack shouted at Det. Insp. Lauren Bateman: "I just think you should be disgusted with yourself."

    Mr Burton - who was hit over the head while he slept in December 2019 - said he did not want her to be prosecuted over the incident, which was sparked by Ms Flack’s suspicions of infidelity.

    ​A paramedic who found her body told an inquest at Poplar Coroner's Court in London that he found a note written by Flack in the flat, in which she wrote: “I hope me and Lewis can one day find harmony.”

    Mr Burton, a model and former tennis player, gave evidence to the inquest that Ms Flack, 40, “was not in a good place."

    He said: "The media were constantly bashing her character…writing hurtful stories...generally hounding her daily."

    ​The inquest heard that some tabloid newspapers had offered money to Ms Flack’s neighbours in return for snippets of information about her life and had also paid someone for copies of photographs of her blood-soaked bed on the night of the incident.

    Opinion on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram appears divided with many people blaming the tabloid media for writing negative stories about a woman who was clearly in a fragile state and others criticising the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for prosecuting her in the first place.

    ​A minority have stood up for the police and CPS by saying that, if the boot had been on the other foot and it had been a man hitting a woman there would have been outrage if he had not been charged with assault.

    ​In her verdict ruling, North London Coroner Mary Hassell said she believed Ms Flack took her own life “because of an exacerbation of fluctuating ill health and distress.''

    "She knew she would face the media, press, publicity - it would all come down upon her,'' Ms Hassell said.

    Ms Flack was a familiar face in many British homes because she presented Love Island, a wildly popular reality TV show in which young and attractive contestants are dropped in a luxury villa and encouraged to pair up.

    ​Two former Love Island contestants, Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, died by suicide in 2018 and 2019.

    Earlier in the year it was revealed that Ms Flack had written in an unpublished Instagram post that "the truth has been taken out of my hands and used as entertainment."

    She wrote: "I've been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time. But I am NOT a domestic abuser. We had an argument and an accident happened. An accident. The blood that someone SOLD to a newspaper was MY blood and that was something very sad and very personal."

    ​Ms Flack was replaced by Irish presenter Laura Whitmore on the winter edition of Love Island and she has now been targeted on social media after she posted an Instagram ad which appeared to endorse the British Army.

    ​Whitmore wrote: "I was asked to be a guest on a podcast talking about body issues and being a female in a male-dominated industry. As I have done in the past. The other guest was a young female soldier. If this looked like me trying to recruit to the army, that is not the case at all."

    Tags:
    suicide, coroner, tabloids, London
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