CPS defends decision to DROP assault charge on ex-Man Utd star Nicky Butt who was accused of beating estranged wife while STILL pursuing case against Caroline Flack
- Ex-Manchester United player Butt was accused of beating his estranged wife
- However the case was discontinued when prosecutors offered no evidence
- Ms Barlow did not want to give evidence against her estranged husband
- Flack apparently took her own life ahead of trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend
- Ms Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton ‘did not support prosecution against her’
The Crown Prosecution Service has defended its decision to drop an assault charge against former footballer Nicky Butt but pursue the case against Caroline Flack.
Ex-Manchester United player Butt, 45, had been accused of beating his estranged wife Shelley Barlow last April, but the case was discontinued when prosecutors offered no evidence.
It is understood that Mr Butt’s defence was that he accidentally damaged her mobile phone, and did not know how she had sustained a cut to her hand.
The CPS came under fire in the wake of the death of TV presenter Flack, 40, who apparently took her own life while awaiting trial for allegedly assaulting her boyfriend.
Ms Barlow did not want to give evidence against her estranged husband, and Ms Flack’s boyfriend Lewis Burton had said he did not support the prosecution against her.
A heartbroken Lewis Burton posted this photograph of his former girlfriend Caroline Flack after an inquest heard she had hanged herself today
Prosecutors have dropped an assault charge against former Manchester United player Nicky Butt (pictured outside court in November), after he was accused of beating his estranged wife
On Wednesday Ms Flack’s family released an unpublished Instagram post written by the presenter in which she maintained that the incident was an accident.
Former chief crown prosecutor for the North West Nazir Afzal said that, while the case against Caroline Flack was an allegedly deliberate assault, Mr Butt maintained that he had accidentally damaged his former partner’s phone.
Mr Afzal said: ‘Without the complainant giving evidence, it’s virtually impossible to rebut a defence of accident.’
A CPS spokesman said that the circumstances of the two cases were different, and that no more details could be revealed because they involved private family matters that had not been discussed in open court.
When deciding whether to pursue a case, prosecutors must consider firstly whether there is enough evidence, and secondly whether it is in the public interest to do so.
Lewis Burton posted a photo of himself and Caroline Flack on Instagram on Valentine’s Day, despite a court ban on contact between the pair
Flack’s personal woes began when police were seen outside the presenter’s residence, where she lived with Burton, during the early hours of December 14 after reports emerged that a man had been attacked
The CPS spokesman said: ‘It is not appropriate to compare unconnected cases, as deciding whether the public interest test is met depends on the individual circumstances of each complaint.’
In the emotional post released by her family today, Caroline had penned: ‘I have always taken responsibility for what happened that night. Even on the night. But the truth is …. It was an accident.
‘I’ve been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time.
‘But I am not a domestic abuser.
‘We had an argument and an accident happened. An accident.’
The full message that Caroline Flack wrote and was advised not to post on social media
Flack’s mother shared the message in her local paper, the Eastern Daily Press, in Norfolk where Flack grew up.
For a lot of people, being arrested for common assault is an extreme way to have some sort of spiritual awakening but for me it’s become the normal.
I’ve been pressing the snooze button on many stresses in my life – for my whole life. I’ve accepted shame and toxic opinions on my life for over 10 years and yet told myself it’s all part of my job. No complaining.
The problem with brushing things under the carpet is …. they are still there and one day someone is going to lift that carpet up and all you are going to feel is shame and embarrassment.
On December the 12th 2019 I was arrested for common assault on my boyfriend… Within 24 hours my whole world and future was swept from under my feet and all the walls that I had taken so long to build around me, collapsed. I am suddenly on a different kind of stage and everyone is watching it happen.
I have always taken responsibility for what happened that night. Even on the night. But the truth is… It was an accident.
I’ve been having some sort of emotional breakdown for a very long time.
But 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.
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