Police are ‘ready to charge suspect over death at Michael Barrymore’s pool in 2001’ #englishheadline
Police are set to charge a suspect over the death of a man at Michael Barrymore’s home 20 years ago, it was revealed today.
Stuart Lubbock, 31, was found dead in the pool of Mr Barrymore’s £2million Essex home in 2001.
Police are now ready to ‘imminently’ send a file to the Crown Prosecution Service after a man, 50, was arrested on suspicion of murder and rape.
It is claimed that the dossier includes evidence relating to alleged involvement of the suspect in Mr Lubbock’s death.
An Essex Police spokesman said: ‘Following our substantial and detailed investigation, we will imminently be submitting a file to the CPS for their consideration and decision.’
His 76-year-old father Terry Lubbock, who is battling cancer, was thankful for the news, but said his only regret is that ‘whatever happens I will never have the day in court to face my son’s killer’.
Stuart’s brother Kevin, 53, said: ‘This shows why my dad has never given up fighting for the justice we all deserve.’
Michael Barrymore, 68, (pictured walking his dog with a friend in March) reportedly met with police after Stuart Lubbock was found dead in his swimming pool during a party at his house in Roydon, Essex
Mr Lubbock, 31, (pictured) had been attending a party at Barrymore’s luxury home in Roydon with eight other people when he died
Earlier this year, Stuart’s father Terry Lubbock (right) said he wanted a coroner to oversee a new inquest into the death of his son (left) and welcomed the arrest as he fights for justice as he fights terminal cancer
Mr Lubbock, 31, had been attending a party at Barrymore’s luxury home in the Essex village of Roydon with eight other people on March 31, 2001
The timeline of events following Stuart Lubbock’s death
March 31: Mr Lubbock, 31, of Harlow, Essex, is found dead at Barrymore’s home in nearby Roydon following a party. The entertainer is questioned by police.
October: Barrymore accepts an official caution for drugs offences and allowing his home to be used for smoking cannabis. No further charges are brought.
September: An inquest in Epping, Essex, records an open verdict on Mr Lubbock’s death. Medical experts tell the hearing that he had suffered severe internal injuries, suggesting he may have been the victim of a serious sexual assault. Alcohol, cocaine and Ecstasy were also found in his system. ITV also announces that it has ‘no plans’ to commission any further shows from the star.
September: Barrymore abandons a comeback attempt after the first three nights of his one-man show in London receive bad reviews.
December: Amid reports that he has received a £1.4 million tax bill, he leaves the UK to live in New Zealand with his long-term partner Shaun Davis.
May: Barrymore announces that he has filed for voluntary bankruptcy in the UK because of the ‘unexpected’ tax demand.
January: Barrymore returns to screens in the UK as a Celebrity Big Brother housemate.
He remains in the house for three weeks and is runner-up in the final poll, leading to speculation that his showbusiness career will be revived.
After emerging from the house, Barrymore holds a tearful two-hour meeting with Mr Lubbock’s father Terry in a London hotel.
Mr Lubbock reportedly tells the entertainer he does not hold him ‘responsible’ for what happened. Barrymore is said to have responded: ‘It haunts me every day.’
February: Mr Lubbock’s family is blocked from launching a private prosecution against the celebrity.
A district judge in Southend, Essex, rules there is insufficient evidence for a hearing on six offences – four related to the misuse of drugs, one alleging drunk and disorderly behaviour and one alleging assault.
April: Police announce that they are reviewing Mr Lubbock’s death as part of ‘routine’ procedure.
December: Essex Police begin a new inquiry into Mr Lubbock’s death.
March: Police issue a new appeal for information on the sixth anniversary of Mr Lubbock’s death.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also launches an inquiry into the original police investigation surrounding Mr Lubbock’s death.
June: Barrymore and two other men are arrested and questioned on suspicion of seriously sexually assaulting and murdering Mr Lubbock.
They are later released without charge.
February: The IPCC publishes the findings of a review of the police investigation into Mr Lubbock’s death, including that officers missed crucial evidence and did not ensure vital forensic tests were completed until six years later.
March: Police launch a fresh appeal for information over the death.
December: Barrymore admits cocaine possession and is fined £780.
December: Barrymore lodges an appeal for £2.5 million damages after suing police who arrested him over Mr Lubbock’s death.
August: A High Court judge rules Barrymore is entitled to ‘more than nominal’ damages against Essex Police over the wrongful arrest which he said destroyed his career.
December: The Court of Appeal says Barrymore ‘is entitled to nominal damages only’, following an appeal by the police.
February: A Channel 4 documentary about Mr Lubbock’s death prompts Barrymore to issue a fresh denial of any wrongdoing, saying: ‘I have had nothing to do with this whatsoever and yet I keep getting bashed and bullied by the media.’
March: Terry Lubbock hints at the possibility of fresh evidence emerging, telling PA: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if someone cracks soon under all this pressure and decides to get it off their chest once and for all.’
On March 17, Essex Police announces a 50-year-old man has been arrested in Cheshire in connection with Mr Lubbock’s murder and indecent assault.
Police reportedly say they have made a ‘substantial and detailed investigation’ and will be handing a file to the CPS ‘for their consideration and decision’.
Prosecutors will possibly look at it this week before deciding what charges, if any, to bring.
A source said police think they have enough evidence for the case to go to court.
It comes following revelations that Mr Barrymore, 68, had spoken with police about the death, and the case’s lead officer, Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, had visited Stuart’s father.
A source said: ‘All Terry has ever wanted is justice for his boy. It breaks his heart he may not live to see it — but the next best thing is knowing there are good people.’
A 50-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of murder and indecent assault in Cheshire on March 17 after ‘significant new information’ came to light, was released under investigation earlier last month.
Butcher Mr Lubbock, 31, had been attending a party at Barrymore’s luxury home in Roydon with eight other people when he died.
Mike Browne, Mr Barrymore’s former agent, said: ‘The police asked us if we had anything new that might have come to mind in the last 20 years but we don’t.
‘We both just want this to be resolved for everyone’s sake.’
Mr Browne said Essex Police detectives visited his home earlier – shortly after a man, 50, was held in Cheshire in connection with Stuart’s death.
He told the Mirror: ‘They just really wanted to clarify if I was aware of anything coming to light over the last 20 years. Of course, my honest answer was believe me, if anything had done, you would have been made aware of it’.
Stuart was found floating in Mr Barrymore’s swimming pool but nobody has been brought to justice for causing his death.
Detectives believe that Mr Lubbock may also have been abused.
The initial investigation was deeply flawed after officers failed to secure the crime scene and assumed Stuart had drowned.
A post-mortem examination showed Mr Lubbock had suffered severe internal injuries which suggested he had been sexually assaulted.
Alcohol, ecstasy and cocaine were found in his bloodstream.
The coroner recorded an open verdict.
Stuart Lubbock’s death shocked Britain and ended Michael Barrymore’s TV career overnight. The star, who made millions as one of the UK’s top TV personalities of the 1980s and 1990s, has always denied playing any part in his suspected murder.
He has been reduced to playing Strike It Lucky live with fans on Instagram and was last seen on TV during a stint on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.
A planned appearance on Dancing on Ice last year never happened after he broke his wrist and he was never invited back.
Last year’s Channel 4 documentary about the case prompted Barrymore, 68, to issue a fresh denial of any wrongdoing, saying: ‘I have had nothing to do with this whatsoever and yet I keep getting bashed and bullied by the media.’
Stuart was found floating in Mr Barrymore’s swimming pool but nobody has been brought to justice for causing his death, two decades ago this month. Detectives believe that Mr Lubbuck may also have been abused by a pool thermometer and outhouse handle that went missing after his suspected murder.
The initial investigation was deeply flawed after officers failed to secure the crime scene and assumed Stuart had drowned. Mr Lubbock may have been fatally injured in the jacuzzi and then dumped in the pool to make it look like an accident, it has been claimed previously.
Michael Barrymore was criticised for leaving his home soon after Mr Lubbock was found floating in the outside pool of his £2million home, which was sold for just £1.4million last year.
The former television presenter, who lives in West London and became a household name for shows such as Strike It Lucky, has always denied involvement in the death.
He was married to agent Cheryl Barrymore for 21 years but revealed he was gay in August 1995 and split from his wife a year later.
Barrymore was arrested on suspicion of rape and serious sexual assault in 2007, along with two other people. No charges were brought due to lack of evidence.
Barrymore later launched a high court case for £2.4million damages for wrongful arrest. He received a nominal sum after Essex Police won an appeal.
Last year Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, who is now in charge of the case, revealed that two items possibly used in the brutal assault on Mr Lubbock – a pool thermometer and outhouse handle – went missing.
The crime scene was not properly secured after his death as officers at first assumed the factory worker had drowned.
Mr Jennings has also said it was likely at least two people were involved in the crime.
The policeman said at the time: ‘I believe that he [Mr Lubbock] was raped and murdered that night.
‘One or more of those party-goers are responsible for that serious sexual assault.’
The arrest comes just days after Stuart’s father Terry Lubbock, 76, said he had hopes that a witness with information might soon come forward to help the investigation.
Terry Lubbock, who has terminal cancer, said some people who were at the party must be living under ‘terrible’ pressure.
Pictured: Michael Barrymore’s swimming pool. Police reportedly say they have made a ‘substantial and detailed investigation’ and will be handing a file to the CPS ‘for their consideration and decision’
The other seven guests present on the night that Mr Lubbock died
Kenney, 50, from Blackpool in Lancashire, was Barrymore’s boyfriend at the time of Mr Lubbock’s death.
He was formerly a drag queen but more recently had been working as a driving test examiner.
Kenney, along with Barrymore, invited the other seven guests over to the house after they partied together at the Millennium nightclub in Harlow, Essex.
He was one of three people arrested on suspicion of murder by Essex Police in 2007 before he was later released without charge.
Former dustman Justin, 46, was unemployed when he went back to Barrymore’s house along with his sister Kylie.
Reports from the time claimed Justin was an ‘unofficial minder’ to the TV star during that night.
He had walked up to Barrymore outside the nightclub earlier and said: ‘I’ll look after you. I’ll be your security to get you home.’
Mr Merritt claimed to have shared a Jacuzzi with Mr Lubbock and last saw him alive ‘bombing’ in the pool and in high spirits.
He, along with Barrymore and Kenney, were arrested on suspicion of murder before ultimately being released.
Kylie was Justin’s sister and had been present with him in the nightclub when Justin had offered to be Barrymore’s minder on the night.
The siblings, along with Barrymore and Mr Lubbock shared a taxi back to the house.
Miss Merritt would later claim that she had then seen Mr Lubbock ‘larking about’ by himself in the swimming pool.
On another occasion, she said she saw Barrymore with two men in a small room near his bedroom door.
She would also claim that Barrymore had produced cocaine on the night and had tried to rub the drug into My Lubbock’s gums, something he denied.
Ms Merritt infamously took a lie detector test for the News of the World, which suggested she was not being truthful when questioned about what happened that day.
Mr Futers, 41, was a chef who lived near Barrymore in Roydon, Essex.
He would tell a court how the TV star offered him ‘white powder’ shortly after he arrived at the house for the party.
Later he would add that he believed the drug to be cocaine.
Mr Futers had met Barrymore on several previous occasions to have a drink and ‘play cards’.
He had been at the nightclub with Barrymore that night and had agreed to go back to his house for an ‘impromptu’ gathering.
Mr Shaw had been invited to the party due to his friendship with Barrymore’s neighbour Mr Futers.
During court testimony, he recounted how he spotted Mr Lubbock in the pool and jumped in to help him.
He said he tried to pull him up from the bottom of the pool but found him to heavy, returning for breath before going back and successfully lifting him out.
Mr Shaw then left the home with Mr Futers as he thought ‘what happened was a bit scary’, and was joined by Barrymore.
They all went back to Mr Shaw’s house, where they spoke about what had occurred while Barrymore made phone calls to his ‘PR man’.
Claire Jones and Kelly Campbell
Ms Jones, a 17-year-old cashier at the time, and her friend Kelly Campbell, both now 37, had only met Barrymore hours early at the nightclub when they were invited back for the party.
She would later tell police how she saw Barrymore rummaging through drawers and changing his clothes before police arrived.
Ms Jones also told police that when Barrymore left the house he had a ‘bundle of material’ under his arm.