EXCLUSIVE: ‘My son and the other Love Islanders CAN’T know what’s happened’: Mother of Chad Uzok says show must go on – and ITV is right not to tell stars of Caroline Flack’s suicide
- Love Island staff in South Africa working on the current series are ‘homesick’ and describe the mood on set as ‘incredibly low’ following Caroline’s tragic passing
- Seniors are ‘constantly checking everyone’s OK’ after the former host, 40, was found dead at her new London home on Saturday
- Production have been ‘reassured the show will not be axed’ and the summer series will go ahead as planned – but final decisions are yet to be made
- ITV2 bosses are looking to recruit Laura Whitmore, 34, on a permanent basis after Caroline gave her blessing for the presenter to front the winter series
- Iain Stirling, 32, is understood to have recorded the voiceovers for tonight’s episode while Caroline’s tribute will be a ‘montage aired at the top of the show’
- Contestants on the current series of Love Island still haven’t been told of Caroline’s death. It is not yet clear whether they will be informed at a later date
- If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org
The mother of Love Island contestant Ched Uzor today said ITV is right not to tell the show’s stars about Caroline Flack’s tragic death.
Maureen Uzor says the show must go on and those in the current series being filmed in South Africa should only be told when they leave the villa.
ITV bosses have taken the decision not to inform those still competing for the top prize that Flack had taken her own life.
Maureen said: ‘I think it’s the right decision. When they find out what has happened they are going to be heartbroken and will find it very difficult to deal with.
‘There is no reason for my son and the others to know what has taken place.’
She added: ‘It is absolutely tragic what has happened and I am very upset.’
‘The mood is on the floor, it’s horrible’: Love Island’s crew have been ‘reassured’ on the show’s future and told their ‘jobs are safe’ following former presenter Caroline Flack’s tragic death
In the dark: Contestants on the current series of Love Island STILL haven’t been told of Caroline’s death. It is not yet clear whether they will be informed at a later date
Her son Ched is among the favourites to win the £50,000 first prize when the winter edition of the popular series ends on February 23.
The 23-year-old is a scaffolder from Suffolk and prior to joining the show had over 25,000 fans on Instagram where he often showed off his muscular physique.
None of the contestants have access to mobile phones or the internet while in the villa which is near Cape Town. They were unaware that last night’s show had been cancelled.
Caroline was due to present the 2020 show but was forced to drop out after being arrested for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.
Her close friend Laura Whitmore took over presenting duties for the winter show.
Meanwhile Love Island staff have been told the future of the under fire show is safe.
Crew on the ITV2 reality series described the mood on set in Cape Town as ‘on the floor’ and ‘incredibly low’ as they got back to work ahead of tonight’s episode.
Production have been told the show will not be axed amid claims its future was ‘hanging in the balance.’
The summer series is set to go ahead as planned while ITV2 bosses look to recruit winter host Laura Whitmore, 34, on a permanent basis.
Contestants on the current series still haven’t been told of Caroline’s death. It is not yet clear whether they will be informed at a later date.
An insider told MailOnline: ‘Love Island bosses will not be telling stars of the current series.’
According to those working on set, Caroline’s tribute will be a montage and aired at the top of the show, and her former co-star Iain Stirling, 32, has narrated tonight’s episode as normal.
A source told MailOnline: ‘The mood on set is on the floor, it’s horrible.
‘Staff are feeling homesick for the first time ever after Caroline’s death – all they want now is to be back at home with their loved ones.
‘Seniors are constantly checking everyone’s OK but obviously it’s all workers can think about.
‘Although final decisions for the show are yet to be made, staff have been reassured the summer series will go ahead as planned and their jobs are safe.
‘Tonight’s episode of Love Island will begin with a montage of Caroline, that producers are hoping will be a fitting tribute to the star.’
‘Their jobs are safe’: Production have been reassured the show will not be axed as bosses look to recruit winter series host Laura Whitmore, 34, on a permanent basis
Poignant: ITV released the above statement which said that Love Island would return on Monday night and will include a tribute to the former presenter
ITV cancelled Love Island Unseen Bits which usually airs on Saturday night and axed Sunday’s episode after Caroline, 40, who fronted the dating series for five years, died on Saturday at her home in east London.
The show will return on Monday evening as planned but Monday’s Aftersun has been cancelled in the wake of the tragic news.
Bosses decided to axe the recording ‘out of respect for Caroline’s friends and family,’ after she also presented the spin-off show.
Love Island host Laura paid tribute to her close friend Caroline on Sunday, and described the show as ‘loving and caring and safe and protected’.
In a heartfelt speech on her BBC 5 Live show, Laura said: ‘Caroline loved to love, that’s all she wanted.
‘It’s all staff can think about’: Caroline, who tragically took her own life on Saturday, fronted the ITV2 dating series for five years, and was loved and respected by cast and crew
‘Which is why a show like Love Island was important to her because the show is about finding love, friendship and having a laugh.
‘The problem wasn’t the show. The show to work on is loving and caring and safe and protected. The problem is the outside world is not.’
It has been claimed that Caroline took her own life just minutes after her close friend Lou Teasdale, 36, left her flat, where she had been staying with the star over Valentine’s Day.
The distraught TV presenter was understood to be horrified by the prospect of a ‘show trial’ over an alleged assault on her boyfriend and was worried she could not cope with the fallout.
It has also been claimed by sources close to Caroline’s legal team that the Crown Prosecution Service initially decided not to charge her with assault, but senior police officers pressed for a charging decision, according to The Sun.
Police last night refused to reveal if they had referred the star to mental health services.
Supportive friends: Mollie Grosberg, a TV producer, posted this picture of Caroline in an Instagram story – it’s said to be the last picture of Caroline, taken hours before she took her life
Sad: Caroline posted a series of pictures with her dog Ruby in her final Instagram post on Friday, which showed her wearing Valentine’s Day red lipstick
Flack’s boyfriend says his ‘heart is broken’
Caroline Flack’s boyfriend yesterday said he was ‘heartbroken’.
Lewis Burton said that he will be Caroline’s ‘voice’ in the wake of her death and would strive to ‘get the answers’ she now cannot get for herself.
The 27-year-old was ordered by a judge to have no contact with his girlfriend, who was accused of assaulting him in December, ahead of her trial on March 4. He asked the CPS not to press charges.
‘My heart is broken, we had something so special,’ he wrote in a social media post, which accompanied a photo of the pair cuddling on holiday.
He added: ‘I know you felt safe with me and I was not allowed to be there this time, I kept asking and asking.
‘I will ask the questions you wanted. Nothing will bring you back but I will try to make you proud every day.’
The pair had been dating since last summer when they were spotted in Ibiza. He posted a loving Instagram message to his other half on Valentine’s Day, hours before she took her own life.
Friends have said Caroline was tormented over the idea of a jury being shown police ‘body cam’ footage taken during the night she was accused of attacking Lewis Burton, 27, and had hoped the trial would not go ahead.
They say the star was left feeling isolated and scared and was prescribed anti-depressants, after she previously opened up about using the medication.
One said: ‘Her biggest fear was that the bodycam footage would be made public. She realised that it was going to be shown in court if it came to court.
‘She felt that from that moment her life would be ruined forever. I hear that the footage is quite distressing.’
A court hearing was told Lewis dialled 999 at 5.25am on December 12 and said he was being assaulted by Caroline.
He allegedly said to police she had read text messages on his phone and thought he was cheating on her, and had attacked him while he was asleep.
At a hearing at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court last year, prosecutors said police found the couple covered in blood and said Caroline had two cuts to her left wrist after smashing a glass.
Officers were forced to restrain her, they said, and when she was cautioned, she told police she would kill herself, the court heard.
Her lawyer Paul Morris said Lewis disputed the CPS’s account and did not want her to be prosecuted.
It was claimed yesterday paramedics had been sent to her home the day before she was found dead, following fears for her welfare, but she was not taken to hospital following a clinical assessment.
Caroline’s agent Francis Ridley, of Money Talent Management, said: ‘The CPS pursued this when they knew not only how very vulnerable Caroline was but also that the alleged victim did not support the prosecution.
‘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.’
Lawyer Nazir Afzal, a former CPS chief prosecutor, said prosecutors could halt proceedings if the risk to the defendant’s health outweighed the public interest in them standing trial.
Nazil said the CPS had been under pressure to pursue convictions of domestic violence amid concerns that too many cases had been dropped.
‘I am lost for words’: Caroline’s boyfriend Lewis Burton, 27, said he was ‘heartbroken’ as he posted a statement to his Instagram page on Sunday
Heartbroken Lewis, who has vowed to get answers following her death, had begged the CPS not to press charges, and raged against a court ban which kept them apart over Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
In a statement posted to Instagram on Sunday, Lewis said: ‘My heart is broken we had something so special. I am so lost for words, I am in so much pain, I miss you so much.
‘I know you felt safe with me you always said I don’t think about anything else when I am with you and I was not allowed to be there this time I kept asking and asking.
‘I will be your voice baby, I promise I will ask all the questions you wanted and I will get all the answers nothing will bring you back but I will try make you proud everyday. I love you with all my heart.’
The decision to press on with Love Island, which is scheduled to finish on Sunday, shocked industry insiders who expected the broadcaster to cancel it after her death.
Two former contestants – Sophie Gradon and Mike Thalassitis – have taken their lives over the past two years, and Sophie’s boyfriend also killed himself weeks after her death.
One of ITV’s most high-profile presenters, Eamonn Holmes, questioned whether the series should continue out of ‘respect’ for Caroline Flack. Writing on Twitter he said: ‘Caroline Flack… Dear God. Shocked beyond belief. May she have found peace.
‘Has to be repercussions for Love Island now surely?’
He later added: ‘Meaning out of Respect, can the series continue?’
The main sponsors of Love Island, take away service Just Eat, said it was backing ITV’s decision to pull episodes at the weekend.
Yesterday sources defended the broadcaster against suggestions it had not supported Caroline enough after her arrest and subsequent charge for assaulting Lewis.
An ITV insider said on Sunday: ‘We have been in contact with her and her agent numerous times from the time of the incident in December.
‘We had offered our support to her. We had asked and got reassurances that she was seeking whatever support she needed to help her through this period.
‘We offered our own help and said it is available to her. Caroline and her team were managing their way through that and we offered to provide any support that might be necessary or appropriate.’
The source added: ‘Caroline had an enduring relationship with the Love Island team, with Laura and Iain.
‘Despite what was happening in her personal life Caroline always indicated her positivity towards Love Island and its place in her life.’
After Saturday and Sunday night’s editions of the ITV2 dating show were pulled, there had been speculation about whether the rest of the series would air.
Confirming that the show would air an ITV spokesman said: ‘Many people at ITV knew Caroline well and held her in great affection. All of us are absolutely devastated at this tragic news.’
TV critic Scott Bryan told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme that it was ‘just a bit too soon’ for the programme to return.
He said: ‘Of course there are viewers who would say, well, Love Island isn’t really connected to this… the reasons why somebody takes their own life is due to a myriad of different factors.
‘Then some say that it should be as a tribute for Caroline, but also I think many people would say it just feels too soon. I think I’m in that camp – I feel personally it is just a bit too soon.
‘I think it’s just the fact that Love Island is such a bubbly show, such a warm show, such an uplifting show – and it just doesn’t feel like the cultural mood where we are as a country at the moment, I think.’
If you have been affected by this story, you can call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org
Tributes: Beautiful flowers have been left outside Caroline’s house in north London, where she lived for much of her presenting career
CPS outlines how it reaches charging decisions
On Sunday, the CPS said it had been asked questions about ‘the role of the CPS in deciding whether to charge an individual with a criminal offence’, adding: ‘The following information explains our role and approach. It is not a comment on any individual case.’
The CPS said: ‘We do not decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence – that is for the jury, judge or magistrate – but we must make the key decision of whether a case should be put before a court.’
It said every charging decision is based on the same two-stage test in the Code for Crown Prosecutors:
– Does the evidence provide a realistic prospect of conviction? That means, having heard the evidence, is a court more likely than not to find the defendant guilty?
– Is it in the public interest to prosecute? That means asking questions including how serious the offence is, the harm caused to the victim, the impact on communities and whether prosecution is a proportionate response.
The information they posted a link to included: ‘Guidance for prosecutors when considering domestic abuse allegations gives specific advice on how to proceed when a complainant does not want to support a prosecution, which can often be a feature of these difficult cases.
‘It provides guidance on the information required to understand why a complainant may withdraw support and the different options that should be considered, including proceeding without the complainant’s support if other evidence is available.
‘It sets out a number of factors which may be helpful when considering the public interest in whether to charge in these circumstances.’
In a section of the CPS website with the heading ‘Retractions and withdrawals by complainants’, it says: ‘It is possible that a complainant may ask the police not to proceed any further with a prosecution case and say they no longer wish to give evidence.
‘There may be a number of reasons why a complainant will withdraw their support from a prosecution, or retract their allegation, but this does not mean that the case will be automatically stopped.’
The website lists possible reasons why a complainant may no longer support a case.
These include fear of other offences being committed or risk of further harm, fear of coming face to face with the abuser in court, pressure from the perpetrator, fear of repercussions that may follow from peers of the perpetrator, fear of being publicly shamed and a wish to be reconciled with the perpetrator.
The CPS say reasons such as these should be considered as a means to assist prosecutors in understanding how they will need to consider the next steps to be taken.