Lawyer who charged Caroline Flack with assault speaks out after presenter’s tragic suicide and says he was right to prosecute because ‘victim’ Lewis Burton ‘was in danger’
- Former chief prosecutor Ed Beltrami charged Caroline Flack with assault
- Love Island presenter died hours after she was told CPS were pressing charges
- Friends slammed CPS for pursuing trial, branding it a ‘show trial’ and ‘witchhunt’
- Caroline’s boyfriend Lewis Burton said he did not support the prosecution
- For help and support call Samaritans helpline 116123 or visit www.samaritans.org
The lawyer who charged Caroline Flack with assault has defended his decision to press on with the case and insisted he made the right decision.
Former chief prosecutor Ed Beltrami has spoken out about his decision to pursue a trial, four months after the 40-year-old star was found dead in her home.
Mr Beltrami claimed he had never heard of the Love Island presenter before files for her case landed on his desk.
Caroline took her own life one day after she found out the Crown Prosecution Service was pursuing charges over an alleged attack on her boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27.
In a fierce rebuttal of accusations Flack’s case was being used as a ‘show trial’, Mr Beltrami told Wales Online: ‘You’ve got to do what you think is right. You cannot do what you think is popular.’
The former chief prosecutor for north London, Ed Beltrami (left), claimed he had never heard of Caroline Flack (right) before files for her case landed on his desk
Caroline had pleaded not guilty to assault by beating. Pictured, her boyfriend Lewis Burton leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in December after his girlfriend had pleaded not guilty to assault
Caroline had been blocked from speaking to her boyfriend Lewis Burton (pictured together) by a restraining order following allegations of assault, and was due to face trial on March 4
Caroline pictured weeks before her death, leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court
Flowers were left outside the former Love Island presenter’s Islington home as news of her death broke in February
As chief crown prosecutor it was Mr Beltrami’s job to make a decision on whether to continue to trial.
Mr Beltrami said: ‘To be absolutely frank with you I had never actually heard of her. Obviously when you make that decision to proceed with case you have absolutely no idea that the defendant is going to take her own life.’
Mr Beltrami said ‘domestic abuse carried a high risk of repetition and offending escalating.’
Caroline was found at her home in Stoke Newington, London, in February by her father Ian after her friend popped to the shops but failed to get back inside the building.
Her death lead to an outpouring of grief from friends and fans alike, mourning the much-loved star who had graced TV screens for years.
Caroline’s management team slammed the Crown Prosecution Service for pursuing a ‘show trial’ against the ex-Love Island presenter, who took her own life hours after she was told she would face a trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.
Her team described her as ‘vulnerable’ and criticised the CPS for pushing ahead with the case despite her boyfriend Mr Burton saying he did not want to press charges.
As part of her bail conditions the pair were banned from contacting each other.
Caroline was found at her home in Stoke Newington, London, in February by her father Ian
Caroline Flack was found dead at her London flat aged 40. She is pictured above attending the Brit awards last year
The last post: A collage of pictures posted by Caroline’s the week before her death to her 2.4million followers, showing her playing with her dog, Ruby
Flack’s friends were said to be furious that the CPS pursued the presenter’s prosecution despite Burton making it clear he did not want the case to go to trial as there had been no serious injury.
Speaking after her death, a member of Caroline’s management team said the CPS should ‘look at themselves’ and how they pursued a trial ‘without merit’ which resulted in ‘significant distress to Caroline’.
Her management criticised the CPS in a statement. Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: ‘We are devastated at the loss of our client and friend Caroline Flack.
‘The Crown Prosecution Service pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution and had disputed the CPS version of events.
‘The CPS should look at themselves today and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest. And ultimately resulted in significant distress to Caroline. Our thoughts are with Caroline’s family at this time.
‘An immensely talented young woman who was at the top of her game professionally and loved by television viewers across the country. In recent months Caroline had been under huge pressure because of an ongoing case and potential trial which has been well reported.’
At the time the CPS told MailOnline in a statement: ‘Our deepest sympathies go to the family and friends of Caroline Flack. Given the tragic circumstances, we will not comment on the specifics of this case at this stage.’
The TV presenter, aged 40, took her own life after Lou Teasdale who was staying with her went to the shops, leaving her alone at her London home (pictured)
Lewis Burton had posted a picture of him and Caroline on Instagram, writing: ‘Happy Valentine’s… Love You’
The Love Island host took to Instagram in January to announce that she planned to give her side of the story but made no further statement
Contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon took their own lives following their appearances on the dating programme, throwing the show’s future into question
The saga surrounding her court case saw her ‘step down’ from hosting Love Island and the first ever winter series was subsequently hosted by Laura Whitmore.
Caroline’s death also led to calls for the ITV2 flagship show to be axed.
She was the third person connected to the show who died, after contestants Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon took their own lives.
Caroline left behind her twin sister Jody, her elder sister Elizabeth, her elder brother Paul, and her parents Christine and Ian.
She also left behind her treasured French Bulldog Ruby.
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