An inquest into Caroline Flack’s death has revealed how her friends desperately tried to get her help – just hours before she took her own life.
The 40-year-old was found dead at her home in North London on February 15, just two months after she was arrested for assault following a row with her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
The inquest into her death continued at Poplar Coroner’s Court in east London today, and witness statements from her friends shed light on the presenter’s final hours.
The court heard that Caroline’s close friends Lou Teasdale and Mollie Grosberg visited her home on the evening of February 14, after the presenter sent a message saying she was going to kill herself.
After they arrived, Caroline’s friends called an ambulance after they found her barely conscious on her couch, surrounded by tablets.
But when paramedics arrived and asked Caroline if she had attempted suicide, she told them: “No I had a headache.”
After they completed a wellness check, Caroline was advised to go to the hospital with the paramedics, but she refused and insisted she was fine.
Giving evidence via videolink, Mollie Grosberg explained why they avoided calling the police, and expressed her frustration over Caroline refusing to go to hospital.
She said: “We were obviously very scared about getting the police involved. She was trying to explain. It was agreed she wasn’t going (to hospital) and I got very angry and shouted, I said this was ridiculous.”
“They (paramedics) said: ‘She doesn’t want to go … you are going to have to do some baby sitting’.”
Reflecting Mollie’s statement, Lou told the court: “We were always nervous to call the police because she didn’t trust the police, and she didn’t want anything to come out to the public which looked like she was having a breakdown.”
Speaking to coroner Mary Hassell, Mollie said Caroline “lost who she was” after she was arrested in December.
She said: “Increasingly over the last few years she had a lot of heartache and the press seemed to pick up a lot on her. She was very sad all the time.”
“Normally the kind of person she was, she could pick herself up. But she couldn’t after December … she lost who she was and she couldn’t get it back.”
When asked whether Caroline pushed her friends away when she needed them most, Mollie replied: “Yes. Every time I left her for half an hour she would do something. It feels like she needed help.”
“She must’ve said ‘no-one will every understand what I’m going through’ ten times that morning. She was so scared to go to prison, of the police, the press … it was too much. All she cared about was everybody else being affected.”
The inquest also heard from paramedic Tony Rumore, who was called to Caroline’s home the night before she died.
He said: “At that time she could stand up, she was alert, she was slightly lethargic. She wasn’t slurring her words and was able to get her words out.”
“We asked them to disclose what she had taken, they said she had taken tablets. She said there was no alcohol that night and denied taking anything else.”
“We asked Caroline if her intention was to harm or kill herself, she said it was merely an attempt to sleep and escape from the stresses she was under.”
He said Caroline was advised to go with them to hospital, but the 40-year-old refused to go with them.
“At that point, Caroline said she adamantly would not be going to hospital and wanted to stay at home. We went through some of the risks – depression, organ failure and death.”
“With obviously so much stress in her life, not having a support network can also be quite detrimental to her mental health.
“Our recommendation was always to be going to hospital but Caroline chose that she did not want to go.”
The paramedic told Caroline’s friends to stay overnight with her, and advised her to speak to her GP the next morning.
The coroner, Mary Hassell, then replied: “Did you say, you need to stay with her until she’s at the GP’s surgery?”
Mr Rumore replied: “It could have been worth having a discussion (with the friends) saying we need to make sure she gets there, but that was not our original plan – we wanted her in hospital that night.”
The paramedic also told the court that they couldn’t detain Caroline under the Mental Health Act, as she was in her own home.
He explained: “She could be sectioned if she was in a public place, but in her own place of safety she could not be detained – she was in her own home at the time.”
Caroline’s friends ended up spending the night with her, but left the next morning at around 10.30am as the presenter was angry with them for calling an ambulance the night before.
Lou told the court: “Caroline spoke to her family about coming the next day because she wanted us to leave, she was quite angry with us. She didn’t want us there.”
Hours later, Caroline was found dead after her sister Jody and Lou’s father Stephen Teasdale gained entry into her home.
In a witness statement, Stephen said he went to the presenter’s home in Stoke Newington after Jody phoned to say she could not get in.
“We came to the flat and tried to force entry. We thought about phoning the police but knew the landlady… We got the key and let ourselves into the flat,” he told the court.
After they found Caroline, Jody started CPR until the police arrived and took over, but the presenter was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
Caroline’s death came just two months after she was arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton.
It’s believed Caroline took her own life just hours after she was told she would face trial for the alleged assault – despite the fact that Lewis didn’t want to press charges.
Following her death, the presenter’s management slammed the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for pursuing the ‘show trial’, knowing how vulnerable she was.
And during today’s inquest, Caroline’s mother Christine once again slammed the CPS for pursuing the trial.
In a written statement, she said: “I believe Caroline was seriously let down by the authorities and in particular the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) for pursuing the case.”
“I believe this was a show trial. I feel the prosecutor was unkind to Caroline and my family. I was threatened with arrest when I tried to speak.”
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