The presenter’s mother Christine said she had received this news at around the same time as learning that the CPS was determined to take a domestic violence charge against her to trial.
The picture, of blood stains on a bed, appeared on the front page of The Sun newspaper following Ms Flack’s first court appearance, and friends told the inquest today the revelation caused her to “spiral”.
The Love Island host, 40, was accused of assaulting Mr Burton but insisted it had been an “accident”, and the blood in the photo was said to have come from a wound in her own hand.
Christine Flack told the hearing her daughter had “found out it was Lewis that had sent photos of the blood on the bed to his friend”.
Ms Flack’s friend, Mollie Grosberg, said the star was “angry” the night before her death on February 15, but she was not aware if Ms Flack knew that Mr Burton had been responsible for passing on the image.
“As far as I know, this is the God’s honest truth, she never mentioned a word to me whether she thought Lewis had sold that image or gave the image to an ex-girlfriend”, she said.
“That was never brought up.
“She was very angry about certain things, but never mentioned it to me.”
Mrs Flack, watching proceedings over a videolink, then told the hearing: “She did say it to me. She was devastated when she found out he sent the photo to an ex-girlfriend.”
She has told the court the blood in the image was Ms Flack’s, rather than Mr Burton’s.
Ms Grosberg also revealed that the Love Island host had been advised to plead guilty to the charge, which was due to be tried in early March.
“She wanted to plead guilty from the beginning and get it over and done with”, she said.
“They were advising her not to do that, then they changed it.
“She was saying if she pleaded guilty from the beginning, she would have been able to speak and it wouldn’t have escalated into this kind of circus show.”
The hearing has been told Ms Flack took three drug overdoses prior to her death, including before her first court appearance in December 2019 and another on February 14 - the night before she died.
Her twin sister Jody said Ms Flack took a drug overdose the evening before her first court appearance as she struggled to cope with the “shame” of the domestic violence allegations being levelled against her.
“Heartbreak was something Caroline found extremely difficult to cope with, emotionally. It was a cause of much concern for us”, said Jody Flack.
“She attempted to take her own life the night before she appeared in court. I believe the shame of what the charge became against her was too much for her to cope with.”
Tony Rumore, a paramedic called out on February 14 to Ms Flack’s east London home, said the TV star was unwilling to go to hospital and was worried about publicity if she appeared in A&E.
He and a colleague decided they could not take her to hospital that night.
“We were told she was merely attempting to sleep and escape the current stresses she was under”, he said.
Mr Rumore said they were unaware of previous drug overdoses, friends were planning to stay with her, and an agreement was made for Ms Flack to seek mental health support through her GP in the morning.
He said friends were advised to stay with her “overnight” and the plan to contact her GP was a “safety net”, although the paramedics had wanted her to go to hospital that night.
“We wanted her to be in hospital that night and have an assessment that night”, he said. “Caroline said she adamantly would not be going to hospital and wanted to stay at home.”
He added: “We knew there was some issue around privacy.”
The paramedic said he wouldn’t have done anything differently if he had known of Ms Flack’s previous drug overdoses or her friends' concerns for her welfare.
Ms Flack’s mother said she believes the CPS was pursuing a “show trial” and was amazed false statements from the first court hearing had not been corrected, telling the court in a statement: “I believe she was seriously let down by the authorities, in particular the CPS who pursued the case.”
“There was disputed evidence read out in court and picked up by many reporters, but it was disputed”, she said.
“The result of media attention of this hearing forced Caroline to leave her home which she loved, and I believe eventually to taking her own life.
“Being well-known should not allow special treatment, but equally they should not have different rules applying to make an example of something.”
She added that her “heartbroken” daughter had been advised not to speak out while legal proceedings were live.
“Caroline was told not to comment while all the time her heart was breaking. She lost the job she absolutely loved and had worked so hard at, her home, and reputation”, she added.
Flack's friend Louise Teasdale told the court of Flack’s struggles with media attention, including a front page story in The Sun about her assault arrest – complete with bloody photos – that had sent her “spiralling”.
Jody Flack, who found her sister unconscious and attempted to save her life, called it a “false allegation”, and said her sister’s fear of the video of her arrest had weighed heavily on her.
She said the star "would rather plead guilty, go to prison, and be termed an abuser" than have her private life "turned into entertainment”.
She added that the TV star had been “hounded” by some sections of the media, while neighbours had been paid for information about her.
“Caroline spent the last few months of her life hiding inside, scared of the abuse”, she said.
“Caroline seemed very sad the day before her death – she seemed to have lost her fight.”
Mr Burton said he had seen a “devastated” Ms Flack after her court appearance, and she had previously talked about taking her own life.
“The media were constantly bashing her character, writing unkind and hurtful stories and generally hounding her daily”, he said.
“What was bothering her the most was the police case and losing her presenter job on Love Island, the negative media attention plus not being able to see him.”
The court heard this morning that she was found unconscious by her sister, Ms Teasdale, and Ms Teasdale’s father, and a paramedic saw a note, lying on top of an open magazine, which read: “I hope me and Lewis can one day find harmony”.
The inquest in front of Senior Coroner Mary Hassell continues and is expected to last two days.