CAROLINE Flack’s team have branded the Crown Prosecution Service “cruel” for pursuing her through the courts.
A source said: “It only made things worse for both of them, particularly Caroline, who was already very vulnerable.”
The CPS is under pressure to explain why it went ahead even though she was vulnerable.
It has not provided details but has implied there was “other evidence” and the case was “in the public interest”.
Caroline, 40 — who was charged with assault following a clash with boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27 — was found dead at her home on Saturday after taking her own life.
A source close to the star said: “They are trying to make out it was a really serious assault, that Lewis suffered a significant injury and that Caroline may have been an ongoing danger to him.
“It’s total nonsense, the whole thing was designed to be a glitzy show trial.
“Now they’re trying to cover their tracks by vaguely claiming it was ‘in the public interest’.
“There was no public interest — this was a minor incident blown out of proportion when the CPS knew Caroline was incredibly vulnerable. Prosecutors have some very serious questions to answer.”
Caroline’s team say she was “terrified” about the case coming to trial and footage of her arrest being played out in court.
She believed her career would be over, and feared the humiliation her family would suffer.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
The source criticised the bail condition which stopped her and Lewis from seeing each other, adding: “It was cruel and unnecessary.
“It only made things worse for both of them, particularly Caroline, who was already very vulnerable.”
Caroline’s reality TV star pal Nicola McLean told The Sun’s Executive Editor Dan Wootton on his talkRADIO Drive Time show: “Caroline just wanted to be with Lewis.
“She wanted the charges dropped, she felt it was unfair. She would say, ‘I’ll plead guilty so this all goes away’, but she didn’t want to plead guilty because she didn’t think she was, and neither do I.”
The CPS published an “explainer” on its website in response to questions about the case.
It said domestic abuse victims often refuse to support prosecutions, but cases should be pursued anyway “if other evidence is available” and it is “in the public interest”.
The CPS said prosecutors will consider why an alleged victim withdrew their support when deciding whether to continue with a case. But it is believed police had also strong-armed prosecutors.
One senior source at the CPS said: “They are under a lot of pressure to make it seem like Caroline’s case would have been a slam-dunk, with or without the complainant.”
At a previous hearing, prosecutors claimed Lewis was hit over the head with a lamp as he was sleeping after Caroline found texts on his phone which had enraged her.
It is understood an application was made in January to have Caroline’s case dropped because it was an abuse of process and it was due to be heard. It included further warnings about her mental health and was supported by Lewis, who had accepted his initial claims were not true and said he believed the incident was an accident.
Nicola, 38, revealed she called Caroline on Friday, concerned for her welfare.
She said Caroline had changed her Instagram stories to “close friends” and sent a series of worrying messages before she phoned her.
Nicola said: “She was really sad and she told me she was sad.”
ITV has maintained the “door was open” for Caroline to return.
Chief Kevin Lygo said: “Caroline was part of Love Island from the very beginning and her passion, dedication and boundless energy contributed to the show’s success.
“After Caroline stepped down from the show ITV made it clear that the door was left open for her to return and the Love Island production team remained in regular contact with her and continued to offer support over the last few months.”
‘FORCED HER HAND’
Caroline told a number of her friends that ITV had given her no real choice — jump or be pushed.
Nicola added: “It was outrageous to force her hand. She should’ve been presenting that show.
“Suspend her for what? She was not found guilty. She will never ever be found guilty.”
Sun columnist Jane Moore spoke out on Loose Women about the blame placed on the media.
She said: “The media have been unkind, the media have also been kind. I know for a fact that Caroline had relationships, and I mean friendships, with people in the media who also protected her from a lot of things that could have ended up in the media.”
The journalist added: “Can I just say, her family have not criticised the media.
“I think there’s a lot of people criticising the media who have their own agenda against the media.”
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123
Sarah Vine, wife of senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove, blamed social media for “piling in” and “destroying” Caroline’s reputation.
She said: “Without social media it would never have spiralled so wildly out of control.
“Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which play host to torrents of abuse of the vilest kind, are not defined as publishers and are therefore not accountable to the rules of the game.
“Nor do the laws of libel and slander rigorously apply, meaning anyone can more or less say anything they like about anyone.”
More of Caroline’s friends shared touching posts on Instagram, including celebrity hair stylist Lou Teasdale, who was with her hours before she died. She shared a photo of Caroline holding her daughter Lux as a baby.
A CPS spokesman has said: “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.”
A tribute to Caroline featured on tonight’s episode of Love Island. Narrator Iain Stirling told viewers: “We are absolutely devastated by the tragic news that Caroline, a much-loved member of our Love Island family, has passed away.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this dreadful time.
“Like many of you, right now we’re all just trying to come to terms with what’s happened.
“My only hope is that we can all try to be kinder, always show love and listen to one another.”
Cause not often simple
SAMARITANS — the charity which provides support to anyone in emotional distress or struggling to cope — says that suicidal feelings are rarely driven by one thing alone.
Its advice states: “There is no simple explanation for why someone chooses to die by suicide and it is rarely down to one particular factor.
“Mental health problems are important influences, as well as alcohol and substance misuse, and feeling desperate, helpless or without hope.”
People with a history of self-harming or who have attempted suicide in the past are more likely to do so again and are at “much greater risk” of dying by suicide in the future.
The advice adds: “Some people considering suicide may hint at or even declare to friends or relatives that they intend to take their own lives.
“Other people who are feeling suicidal might not mention it at all or give any indication of their intention.”