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Caroline Flack’s Lawyer Suggests Decision to Charge her May Have Been ‘Driven by Desire’ to Appease Media as Met Police Probe Case

A recent Byline Times investigation uncovered evidence that led to the Metropolitan Police announcing that it is re-examining its decision to charge the TV star with assault

Late TV presenter Caroline Flack
Caroline Flack was found dead in February 2020 after police decided to appeal a decision not to charge her over an altercation with her then boyfriend. Photo: PA/Alamy

Read Dan Evan’s and Tom Latchems’s exclusive three-part investigation into the Caroline Flack Story in the April edition of Byline Times. Available in most stores or a digital edition online now.

Caroline Flack’s lawyer suggested this week that a decision by the Metropolitan Police to charge the late TV presenter may have been “driven by a desire” to appease the media, as he spoke out after the force confirmed that it will partly reinvestigate its decision to prosecute as “new evidence may be available”.

The development comes after a Byline Times special investigation into the case, ‘Closure For Caroline Flack: Her Family’s Four-Year Search for the Truth’, uncovered fresh information. It is the cover story for the April edition, out now.

The Crown Prosecution Service recommended that the former Love Island host be cautioned after an incident with her then boyfriend, Lewis Burton, in December 2019. This was overturned after an appeal from the Met, which resulted in the 40-year-old charged with assault by beating.

Caroline was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington, north London, in February 2020 with a coroner later ruling that she killed herself after learning of the impending prosecution and fearing the publicity a trial would attract.

Her mother, Christine Flack, has been critical of the police’s handling of her daughter’s case from the outset, and is fighting to uncover the truth about how decisions around charging her unfolded.

She told Byline Times: “It is a big gap in our understanding of one of the most important moments in the whole thing. It has left us as a family in a terrible, stressful position. It is time he cleared it up, so we can get some justice for Carrie.”

The cover of the April edition of the Byline Times featuring the special investigation into Caroline Flack’s case

Christine has made a fresh complaint to the Met because her family has been left with “important unanswered questions”.

Questioned about the decision to re-examine the case, Flack’s lawyer, Jonathan Coad, suggested that the Met Police’s relationship with the media may not be “entirely as it should be”, telling Sky News: “One suspects the reason why police made this decision was to appease the press pressure, which I remember being there… that she should be charged to rebut suggestions, ‘oh, well she’s had special treatment because she’s a celebrity’.”

He continued: “So, it may be that this decision, which indeed is unusual to appeal it, was driven by a desire not to fall foul of the press, and be criticised by the press, in which case is an entirely wrong reason for the appeal to be made.”

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Getting ‘Closure for Carrie’ – the Family of Caroline Flack is Seeking New Answers from Scotland Yard after Byline Times probe

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Following Caroline’s death, police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), conducted a review of the Met’s decision to charge her, but did not find any misconduct. It did, however, ask the Met to apologise to Caroline’s family for not recording the reason it appealed against the original CPS decision to only issue the presenter with a caution.

The force apologised in February last year, but Christine Flack rejected this, the BBC reported at the time.

The Met confirmed on 11 April that a new complaint was made by Flack’s family last week which it referred to the IOPC.

In a statement to the Press Association, the Met said that the IOPC decided that “the majority of the matters had previously been dealt with and no further action was required” but “one aspect” of the complaint had been returned to the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) for further consideration.

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Closure for Carrie: How Caroline Flack’s Mum is Still Fighting for Truth Four Years After Her Death

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That, the Met said, relates to the “actions of officers in appealing an initial decision by the CPS not to charge Ms Flack, and because new witness evidence may be available”. DPS officers are now making “further enquiries in relation to this”.

The IOPC issued a statement confirming this.

Christine told the Mirror that she made the complaint to try to “compel” the officer who was at her daughter’s arrest “to give the statement we think he should have given four years ago”.

“We won’t stop until we get the truth,” she told the publication.

As Byline Times’ investigation spread across the British press, the journalists behind the exclusive, Dan Evans and Tom Latchem, spoke about how they went about investigating the case and uncovering fresh evidence.

Evans explained that, after the pair broke the Dan Wootton story for this newspaper, they approached Caroline Flack’s family “to see if we could help her get those answers” and through “forensic investigative reporting” discovered that an arresting officer who had played a role in reversing the charging decision – but who had never been named publicly – had left the Met before the inquest took place in 2020, but returned to the force last year.

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“This meant he had never given a statement about his role, leaving a gap in Christine’s knowledge of what happened on the night of Caroline’s arrest,” Evans said.

“Tom and I were thrilled that Christine was able to use our findings to lobby the Met, which has announced its Directorate of Professional Standards is seeking to now bridge this gap in the evidence. It’s a breakthrough in the Flack family’s understanding of Caroline’s arrest and subsequent charge.”

Latchem added: “Christine is a grieving mother and deserves to know the full truth about what happened in the lead up to her daughter’s death. We’re happy to have contributed even in a small way, and we will continue to ensure no stone goes unturned.

“At a time when media outlets are cutting funding for investigative journalism to the bone, our ongoing work with Byline Times seeking justice for Caroline, along with the Dan Wootton investigation, and all our other investigative work, shows how important public interest journalism can be for holding power to account.”

British singer Olly Murs will headline the Flackstock festival, when it returns for its third year on 22 July. Money raised will be split equally between charities Choose Love, Mind, the Samaritans, and the Charlie Waller Trust.


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