‘Devastated’ ITV boss calls Love Island host Caroline Flack’s death ‘unbelievably tragic’ – but says ‘we can never know what is behind a suicide’
- Flack, 40, killed herself just one day after finding out the CPS was pursuing case
- ITV boss Carolyn McCall said that she was ‘absolutely devastated’ by her death
- Dame Carolyn made the comments while at a London conference on Thursday
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details
The boss of ITV tonight described Caroline Flack’s death as ‘unbelievably tragic’ and said that no one will ever know why she took her own life.
Speaking at a conference in London, Dame Carolyn McCall said that she was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the news of Flack’s death and reaffirmed her network’s commitment to focusing on duty of care for Love Island contestants going forward.
The Love Island host killed herself on February 15 just one day after she found out the Crown Prosecution Service was pursuing a court case against her.
The saga surrounding her court case saw her ‘step down’ from hosting Love Island.
Dame Carolyn said ‘we can never know what is behind suicide’ adding that ‘it is a very, very complex thing’.
Caroline Flack’s death has been described as ‘unbelievably tragic’ by ITV boss Dame Carolyn McCall, after the Love Island presenter was found dead last month
Speaking at a conference in London, Dame Carolyn McCall (pictured in 2018) said that she was ‘absolutely devastated’ by the news of Flack’s death and reaffirmed her network’s commitment to focusing on duty of care for Love Island contestants going forward
Dame Carolyn told Enders and Deloitte’s Media And Telecoms 2020 And Beyond conference: ‘I think the thing about Caroline Flack is that ITV are absolutely devastated by what happened to her.
‘So many people at ITV knew Caroline, including me, and it was unbelievably tragic. I think that we can never know what is behind suicide. It is not in any way simple. It is a very, very complex thing.
‘We take advice from (mental health charities) Samaritans and Mind and we will continue to do that.’
Flack died at her east London home while awaiting trial on an assault charge, which she denied.
Dame Carolyn reaffirmed her channel’s commitment to duty of care, highlighting its work with Dr Paul Litchfield.
The deaths of former Love Island contestants Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis, and The Jeremy Kyle Show guest Steve Dymond, prompted increased scrutiny on ITV over its aftercare.
Caroline Flack pictured leaving Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court in North London in December 2019
The decision follows criticism over the CPS’s handling of the case, including from Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton (pictured together) who said he ‘never supported’ a prosecution
Dame Carolyn said: ‘As far as duty of care is concerned, we are absolutely focused on making sure our duty of care is, for both our participants and for our talent, world class. We want to be best in class for that.
‘I think because we reviewed Love Island last summer, so a few months before last summer’s series, Paul Litchfield, who is the former CMO, works with us, and he made a whole load of recommendations which we have implemented, which is about aftercare, which is about casting, which is about a whole range of things – financial management, social media management.
‘Social media is the thing that has gone absolutely ballistic. It has actually only happened in the last three years, because in the first two years (Love Island) was too small.
‘It wasn’t really a successful programme. It has only really made a big difference in the regionals three years ago on social media.
‘We take that very serious and we are actually working with the industry on how we can share all of that and how we can learn and pool our resources, so we can learn from each other. So that is what we are doing.’
After ruling herself out of the race to succeed Lord Tony Hall as the BBC’s director-general earlier in the day, Dame Carolyn said it would be ‘fantastic’ if the corporation was led by a woman.
‘I think the BBC genuinely needs the best person for the job and if that is a woman that would be fantastic,’ she said.
‘But I think the BBC has a huge amount of work cut out for it and needs the very best person for the job.’
Flack (pictured) died at her east London home while awaiting trial on an assault charge, which she denied
Dame Carolyn’s comments comes soon after it was revealed an investigation is to be launched into whether prosecutors were right to press ahead with Caroline Flack’s ‘show trial’ following her death.
There will now be ‘a post-case review panel conducted by a deputy chief crown prosecutor’ to determine whether it should have pursued the case, a freedom of information request has revealed.
It follows criticism over the CPS’s handling of the case, including from Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton who said he ‘never supported’ a prosecution.
A spokesman for the CPS told the Mirror: ‘The review will look at the general CPS handling of the case and, obviously, the decisions behind charging is part of that.’
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’.
It was also revealed earlier this week that the Metropolitan Police will not investigate officers over Caroline Flack’s death after the watchdog said there was no ‘causal link’ between their actions and the tragedy.
Officers last had contact with the 40-year-old television presenter on December 13, 2019 when she was in custody following an alleged assault.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said there was ‘no indication of a causal link – directly or indirectly – between the actions or omissions of the police and Caroline Flack’s tragic death’.
The Met made a mandatory referral to IOPC in the wake of her death, but has confirmed today that no formal investigation is needed in to officers’ contact with late TV presenter.
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