Caroline Flack beams in never-before-seen images from final shoot

Caroline Flack beams in never-before-seen images from final photoshoot – with late star’s ‘Be Kind’ message incorporated into striking portrait to mark the two year anniversary of her death

  • The former Love Island host took her own life on February 15, 2020, at age 40
  • This came a day after hearing the CPS would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019 
  • Flack stepped down from her presenting role in December after her assault arrest 
  • On Monday it was revealed the Met Police will re-examine why Caroline was charged not cautioned 
  • Her mother is demanding answers and says she was treated differently by cops
  • The IOPC has asked the Met to re-investigate if her celebrity status was factor 
  • If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org  
  • Latest news and updates on all of your favourite Love Island contestants

Poignant images of Caroline Flack’s final photoshoot have been released to mark the second anniversary of her tragic death on Tuesday. 

Caroline took her own life on February 15, 2020, at age 40, the day after hearing the Crown Prosecution Service would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her model and former tennis player boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019. 

The images show Caroline smiling and posing with a cocktail in a November 2019 photoshoot – ahead of a portrait she wanted to commission by acclaimed artists, The Connor Brothers.

Memories: Poignant images of Caroline Flack’s final photoshoot have been released to mark the second anniversary of her tragic death on Tuesday

The final portrait has now gone on sale to raise money for leading suicide prevention charity CALM and NGO CHOOSE LOVE, who Caroline supported.

The saying ‘Be Kind’ has been incorporated into the striking prints – with Caroline’s beloved family endorsing the sale.

‘Be Kind’ is a phrase which went viral after Caroline passed away – in 2019, the Love Island host shared a post reading: ‘In a world where you can be anything, be kind’, leading to the touching address.    

The photographers told The Mirror: ‘Just over two years ago Caroline Flack came to our studio to be photographed for a portrait she wanted to commission,’ the photographers have recalled when discussing the fundraising image.

‘She was a joy to work with, and her playful personality and appetite for life were infectious. Like everyone else, we were entirely unaware at the time that this would be Caroline’s last photoshoot.’ 

Final shoot: The show Caroline smiling and posing with a cocktail in a November 2019 photoshoot- for a portrait she wanted to commission by acclaimed artists. the Connor Brothers

Blessing of the family: The final portrait has gone on sale to raise money for mental health charity CALM and NGO CHOOSE LOVE, with the saying ‘Be Kind’ incorporated into the striking prints

The star’s twin sister Jody Flack said the portrait had ‘captured Caroline’s spirit’ – with the late presenter’s loved ones contacting the The Connor Brothers after her death to ensure the portrait Caroline commissioned went ahead.        

The limited edition print is available through The Connor Brothers’ online shop. 

This comes as Olly Murs and Amanda Holden paid emotional tributes to Caroline on the two year anniversary her death.

Olly, who was a close friend of Caroline’s and presented The X Factor and spin-off show The Xtra Factor alongside her, said the loss of the star ‘hurt him every day.’

 

RIP: This comes as Olly Murs and Amanda Holden paid emotional tributes to Caroline on the two year anniversary her death

Sharing a snap of the pair embracing, he wrote: ‘My favourite photo of us. The hug the smile the laughs I miss it all caz! 2 years ago we lost ya and it hurts everyday.’ 

Earlier this month, Olly admitted he continues to be consumed with pain following Caroline’s death and questions whether he could have saved her on a daily basis.

The singer confessed he experienced a ‘different level of grief’ and sought professional help from a therapist after his former co-star took her own life.

He told The Daily Star: ‘I think about what I could have done to change things, what I could have said. There are all sorts of questions I ask myself every day. It’s always difficult.’  

RIP: Amanda Holden paid emotional tribute to Caroline with a throwback photo

Love: Among Caroline’s friends paying tribute was Emily Atack, 32, who shared a black and white image of them both, alongside the caption: ‘2 years. Beautiful Caroline’

Revealing he takes comfort in being with Caroline’s mum Christine along with her friends, the Thinking Of Me songster said he appreciates being around those who loved her equally as much as he did.   

Amanda, 50, marked the anniversary by sharing a throwback snap with Caroline with the caption: ‘Thinking of you.’

Among Caroline’s friends paying tribute was Emily Atack, 32, who shared a black and white image of them both, alongside the caption: ‘2 years. Beautiful Caroline.’ 

Love Island also shared an emotional post in memory of Caroline, writing: ‘Caroline. Forever in our hearts.’ 

The star’s close friend Natalie Pinkham reflected on happier times with Caroline as she posted throwback snaps of the pair, and urged those battling with mental health issues to seek help.

Much missed: Love Island paid tribute to its former host – with villa alumni sharing heartfelt messages in the comment section

She wrote: ‘Will never forget the laughter… but will also never forget the lessons I’ve learnt about it masking the pain…

‘Miss you Flacky. 2 years gone. Don’t suffer alone. Contact @samaritanscharity on 116 123. 

Current Love Island host Laura Whitmore shared a sweet video of herself and Caroline joking about a potential new show ‘Cougar Mountain’, writing: ‘This is how I like to think of Flack. 

‘Happy and not taking herself too seriously. We hung out a lot that year and I look back at it with such fun memories. This day is hard and a reminder that no one knows anyone else’s demons but today I like to think of all the good memories too. Cougar Mountain what a show that would have been.’

The presenter’s friends, fans, family and the TV community was shaken to its core when news of her suicide was revealed amid spiralling mental health problems.   

Two former contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – have also taken their lives after appearing on the show, and Miss Gradon’s boyfriend also killed himself weeks after her death. 

Caring friend, Lou Teasdale, had been taking care of Caroline and had popped out to the shops when the star had taken her life shortly after she left the property. When she could not regain access to her home, she called her dad who found her.

Happier times: Natalie Pinkham shared throwback snaps of Caroline and urged those struggling with mental health to seek help

Caroline’s death was ruled a suicide in an inquest in August 2020 with coroner Mary Hassell, saying: ‘The key decision for me to make is whether Caroline took her own life…

‘I have to be satisfied she acted in a way so as to cause her death, and secondly that she intended to cause her death.

‘In Caroline’s case I am entirely satisfied she intended to cause her own death. She hanged herself. She had only one expectation – her own death. There’s no doubt in my mind at all.’   

The coroner said Flack had experienced ‘fluctuating ill health’ and was ‘distressed’ at the thought of facing a trial.

She said: ‘Caroline had fluctuating mental ill health, she had had struggles in the past. She had had difficulties…

 


Friends: Current Love Island host Laura Whitmore shared a sweet video of herself and Caroline joking about a potential new show ‘Cougar Mountain’, writing: ‘This is how I like to think of Flack’

Tribute: Love Island voiceover artist Iain Stirling paid tribute, with Love Island 2016 finalist Olivia Bowen posting hearts

‘In spite of the fact she may have led – to some – a charmed life, actually the more famous she got the more some of these difficulties increased – she had to deal with the media in a way most of us don’t…

‘It was played out in the national press – and that was incredibly difficult for her. She faced the prospect of not working in the job she loved, losing a great deal…   

‘I find the reason for her taking her life was she now knew she was being prosecuted for certainty, and she knew she would face the media, press, publicity – it would all come down upon her. To me, that’s it in essence.’

At the time, her mum Christine wept as she told the coroner over video-link: ‘I totally agree, I think you got it spot on. We know you are not allowed to say certain things and it’s up to us if we want to take it any further, and we don’t. You’re spot on.’

Concluding, the coroner recorded a death of suicide caused by hanging.

Mrs Hassell said: ‘Caroline hanged herself at home on the morning of February 15 because of an exacerbation of fluctuating ill health and distress.’

On Monday it was revealed the Met Police will re-examine if Caroline was treated differently because of her fame – with her mother saying she is ‘sad and very angry’ at the force.  

Caroline’s  mother has demanded an explanation over why the star was charged with assaulting her boyfriend – with the Met Police told to re-examine whether she was treated differently because of her fame.   

Close bond: Olly has previously confessed he experienced a ‘different level of grief’ and sought professional help from a therapist after his former co-star took her own life in February 2020 (pictured in 2011)

Christine Flack has revealed she remains ‘sad and very angry’ at the way police treated her daughter in the weeks leading up to her death. 

She believes that Flack was treated differently because of her celebrity status and questioned why she was charged by the Met instead of cautioned, which the CPS had initially recommended.  

Christine also revealed that she asked the police how often people are charged for the same offence as her daughter, but was told they didn’t have the data. 

She said: ‘I’ve asked how many times does this happen? How many times do people get charged for that offence? They say there’s no data.’ 

The IOPC agreed that her complaint was not fully addressed and has now instructed the Met Police to reinvestigate if she was treated differently because of who she was.   

Her mother told the BBC: ‘I just want those answers to make me feel better and to make me know that I’ve done the right thing by Caroline.’ 

Christine first complained to the Met a month after her daughter’s death and asked the force to investigate the procedures it followed when it arrested and charged her.

She said she was concerned about how the Met appealed against the CPS advice to give her a caution. 

The IOPC investigated and has found that one element of the complaint was not ‘fully addressed’ by the Met. 

It has directed the force to reinvestigate whether Flack would have been treated differently had she not been famous.  

Christine said: ‘It leaves us really sad and really angry because we want to know why they charged her. I just want the truth out there. I know it won’t bring her back but I’ve got to do it for her.’ 

A spokesperson for the Met Police said: ‘The investigation by the MPS Directorate of Professional Standards into the complaints made by a close relative of Caroline Flack was completed in March 2021.

Court: Caroline took her own life on February 15, 2020, at age 40, the day after hearing the Crown Prosecution Service would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her model and former tennis player boyfriend Lewis Burton in December 2019 (pictured October 2019)

‘Following a full and transparent examination of all the facts, DPS found that the service was acceptable and no misconduct was identified for any officer. This report was shared with the complainant, who requested a review of the findings by the IOPC.

‘Following a review, the IOPC agreed with the MPS that service was acceptable in relation to seven areas of the complaints relating to the response and handling of the incident by the MPS.  

‘The IOPC has directed the MPS to reinvestigate one element of the complaints, this relates to the process involved in appealing the CPS decision to caution Ms Flack. We will re-examine this element of the investigative process.

‘Our thoughts and sympathies remain with Caroline’s family at this very difficult time.’

An IOPC spokesperson said: ‘The complainant submitted two reviews to the Independent Office for Police Conduct requesting we consider the way the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) handled their complaints about the force response to an alleged assault involving Caroline Flack in December 2019.

‘As a result, we directed the MPS to reinvestigate the process involved in coming to its decision to appeal the CPS decision to caution Ms Flack. The original CPS decision was overturned and a criminal charge followed.

‘We did not uphold the seven other complaints about the response and handling of the incident by the MPS.’

In the days after her death Flack’s management team described her as ‘vulnerable’ and criticised the CPS for pushing ahead with the case despite her boyfriend Lewis Burton saying he did not want to press charges. 

He had said she hit him with a lamp at her former home in Islington in December and as part of her bail conditions the pair were banned from contacting each other. 

But he later spoke out in defence of Flack, saying she has become the subject of a ‘witch hunt’ following her arrest. 

A member of Flack’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’.

The saga surrounding her court case saw her ‘step down’ from hosting Love Island.  

Friends of the presenter, who was paid a £1.2million salary for Love Island, said she had been terrified of her impending court date. ‘She was on her own. She couldn’t take it anymore. Her family are devastated,’ one friend told The Mirror.

Another added: ‘Caroline couldn’t bear the thought of going through the court case. She felt her career would never recover from this – and she felt humiliated in front of the world. In the end she just couldn’t see a way out. She didn’t know how to fix herself.’

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.

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.’ 

If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org.

Speaking out: Christine Flack has revealed she remains ‘ sad and very angry’ at the way police treated her daughter in the weeks leading up to her death

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