The lawyer who approved the decision to prosecute Caroline Flack insists he did the right thing in pursuing the case.

Ed Beltrami, former chief crown prosecutor for North London, has admitted the domestic abuse case has played on his mind since 40-year-old Caroline died by suicide in February, The Mirror reports.

But he said: “You've got to come to a decision as a prosecutor. You’ve got to do what you think is right. You cannot do what you think is popular.”

He was speaking to Wales On Sunday, after being made chief crown prosecutor for the country.

Caroline died on February 15, weeks before she was due to stand trial for an assault on model and former tennis pro Lewis Burton, 28, at their North London flat on December 12.

The lawyer explained he had never heard of Caroline Flack before the file landed on his desk. The decision to charge her had been made by a lawyer for CPS Direct, and was made "on the basis of police evidence", he said. It was handed to Mr Beltrami because of the widespread press coverage.

There was a backlash against the CPS for persuing the case following Caroline's death, with many pointing out that Lewis had not supported a prosecution. But Mr Beltrami said the protection of domestic abuse victims relies on the CPS being steadfast.

He said: “You don’t just fold at the first sign of trouble. The fact the victim doesn’t want to know... you’ve got to look at whether you can prosecute without the support of the victim.

“Domestic abuse is a separate category by itself – [with a] high risk of the offending escalating.

“The guy phoned the police, he was terrified he was going to be killed. He’s been hit over the head with a lamp, he’s got a cut to his head, and she’s made an admission to the police at the scene.

"So in the general principles of domestic abuse you say: 'Well I'm going to proceed without the victim because I've got the admission, I've got the complaint from the victim which I'll try to get in, I've got the physical evidence of the cut to the head and the mess in the flat which has been filmed by the police'.

"But obviously when you make that decision to proceed with case you have absolutely no idea that the defendant is going to take her own life. You can't possibly anticipate that sort of thing."

After Caroline died, her management team said the CPS had known she was vulnerable.

Blaming prosecutors for her death, they added: “The CPS should look at themselves and how they pursued a show trial that was not only without merit but not in the public interest.”

But Mr Beltrami said: “Supposing we had made a decision not to proceed, and she goes back to live with the boyfriend and loses her temper again – hits him a bit harder with a lamp and he dies. How would that look then?”

When informed of his remarks, Caroline’s family declined to comment.

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