Love Island presenter Caroline Flack has denied assaulting her boyfriend Lewis Burton in an incident that left them both covered in blood in scenes likened to a “horror movie”.
Flack, 40, who has stepped down as host of the upcoming winter series of the ITV2 dating show, is alleged to have hit Burton, 27, over the head with a lamp, causing a head injury.
A court heard the alleged attack is said to have occurred after Flack found texts on her boyfriend’s phone while he was asleep, leading her to believe he was cheating.
But former professional tennis player and model Burton does not support the prosecution and insists he is not a victim, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court was told.
Flack put her head in her hands as she was released on bail with conditions that stop her having any contact with Burton ahead of a trial on March 4.
Paul Morris, defending, said: “They had been in a relationship all of this year and he appears in court today to support her and they remain a couple.”
Flack was mobbed by photographers as she arrived at court on Monday morning wearing a black coat, scarf and boots before being escorted into the building by police.
Burton arrived at court separately from his girlfriend wearing a navy Parka-style jacket with a fur-lined hood, and watched proceedings from the packed public gallery.
He has previously spoken out in support of the presenter, claiming she has become the subject of a “witch hunt” following her arrest.
Flack stood in front of the glass-enclosed dock to confirm her name, address, date of birth and that her nationality is British before the single charge was read out in court.
Her lawyer, Paul Morris, interrupted proceedings to tell District Judge Julia Newton that Burton does not support the prosecution.
“He is not a victim, he is a witness,” Mr Morris said.
When the charge was put to Flack for a second time, she answered: “Not guilty.”
But prosecutor Katie Weiss said of Burton: “He is a victim – he sustained a significant injury to his head.”
The court heard Flack was arrested and charged with assault by beating after police were called to her flat in Islington, north London, on December 12.
In reference to Burton’s 999 call, Ms Weiss said: “He is almost begging the operator to send help.”
She continued: “Both were covered in blood and in fact one of the police officers likened the scene to a horror movie.
“He said he had been asleep and was hit over the head by Caroline with a lamp, causing a visible cut to his head.”
Ms Weiss added: “She had also smashed a glass and she had sustained an injury.
“Mr Burton said he believed the assault occurred as a result of the defendant taking his phone while he was sleeping… she had seen text messages leading her to believe that he was cheating on her.”
Flack and Burton unfollowed each other on Instagram ahead of the hearing.
In an emotional post to the social networking site on Sunday evening, Flack wrote: “This is the worst time of my life.
“I don’t know where to go to. Where to look. Who to trust. Or who I even am.”
Following her court appearance, Flack released a statement on her Instagram Stories.
She wrote: “Thankfully I know a lot of you will not believe all that you have heard and read following today’s court hearing… thank you for your continued support and love….
“It’s going to be a relief when I am able to give my side of the story, when I’m allowed to x.”
Burton later posted a picture of himself with Flack on his Instagram Stories, with the comment: “It’s heartbreaking I can’t see my girlfriend over Christmas.
“What I witnessed today was horrible. She did not hit me with a lamp.. Arguments do happen every day in every relationship.
“Gutted I am not allowed to protect her right now.”
Irish TV presenter Laura Whitmore will take over hosting duties on Love Island and its companion show Aftersun when filming commences in South Africa in January.