The family of TV presenter Caroline Flack will attend her inquest by videolink due to the coronavirus pandemic, a coroner has decided.
The 40-year-old Love Island host was found dead at her east London home in February when she was two weeks away from standing trial on an allegation of domestic abuse.
An investigation into the death is ongoing, and an inquest is due to take place at Poplar Coroner’s Court on August 5.
Today, Senior Coroner Mary Hassell announced that Ms Flack’s relatives, as well as key witnesses, legal representatives and other “interested parties” will be allowed to attend the hearing remotely.
Members of the media have been blocked from accessing the virtual link and have been instructed to form a socially-distanced queue on the street outside the court prior to the hearing. However, seats for journalists are expected to be limited.
At the time of her death, Ms Flack was facing an assault trial over an allegation that she had attacked partner Lewis Burton while he was asleep.
Her case was due to be heard at Highbury Corner magistrates court in March, but she was found dead at her home in Stoke Newington on February 15.
Ms Flack had denied the assault charge and in an unpublished Instagram post said the incident was an “accident”.
News of her arrest, on December 12 last year, and subsequent criminal charge led to her temporarily stepping down as host of the Love Island reality show.
In her Instagram post, Ms Flack wrote: “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.
“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 can’t spend every day hidden away being told not to say or speak to anyone.
“I’m so sorry to my family for what I have brought upon them and for what my friends have had to go through.
“I’m not thinking about ‘how I’m going to get my career back.’ I’m thinking about how I’m going to get mine and my family’s life back. I can’t say any more than that.”
Mr Burton supported his partner at her first court hearing and had refused to give evidence for the prosecution, but Ms Flack had been prevented from seeing him for two months under the terms of her bail.
The prosecutor who made the decision to pursue the trial this week explained his decision, while a CPS review concluded the case was handled correctly. However Ms Flack’s family called the decision to speak out “deeply regrettable” and suggested the CPS had “released the demons that chased down Caroline”.
A note explaining arrangements for the inquest said: “HM Coroner will physically sit in the Coroner’s Court, but family members, other interested persons, their legal representatives and witnesses have been invited to attend online. This is known as a remote hearing.”
Questions are expected to be asked at the hearing about Metropolitan Police contact with the TV star before she died.