Police to review case of man found dead in Barrymore's pool

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The Independent Online

Detectives may question the television entertainer Michael Barrymore again over the mysterious death of a young butcher whose body was discovered in his swimming pool after a party.

Stuart Lubbock, 31, was found at the bottom of the pool at the millionaire's home in Roydon, Essex, in March 2001. Essex Police yesterday announced they were reviewing his death, although they said the procedure was "routine" and not necessarily related to new evidence.

Police launched an investigation into the circumstances of Mr Lubbock's death, but no one was charged. An inquest recorded an open verdict.

Mr Barrymore, 53, accepted a police caution for drug offences as a result of the inquiry, and emigrated to New Zealand in 2003 after the negative publicity destroyed his career.

Mr Lubbock's father, Terry, 61, reacted to the latest news by calling on the partygoers to "have the courage to come forward and tell the truth" about what happened. He said: "There were at least eight people present on the night he died and somebody knows why he died and what happened to him.

"None of them has ever come forward to tell us or the police the truth and I hope that pricks their conscience - and I doubt if they sleep well at night. That includes Mr Barrymore."

Mr Lubbock failed in an attempt to bring a private prosecution against the presenter in February this year. He alleged that Mr Barrymore assaulted Stuart, had been drunk and disorderly at the party, and had used and supplied cocaine and cannabis. But a judge at a magistrates' court in Southend, Essex, said that there was "insufficient and inadequate" evidence to bring charges.

In January The Sun staged a face-to-face meeting between the pair, during which, the newspaper claimed, Mr Lubbock told the comedian that he did not blame him for Stuart's death.

But Mr Lubbock accused Mr Barrymore of using him for a publicity stunt to resurrect his TV career. "It's been spun that I've forgiven Barrymore and nothing could be further from the truth," he said. "I don't blame him for the actual death of Stuart but I do blame him for not telling all he knows. He used the meeting for his own ends ... [the] next time I want to see him is in court." Mr Barrymore has always insisted that he knows nothing about Stuart's death and would also like to uncover the truth. He denied anything sexual had taken place at the party, after reports that Stuart was suffering from internal injuries consistent with anal sex. He also denied that he had snorted cocaine that night.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said that the review was at a "very early stage". "It is possible that people will be interviewed again but no decisions have been made," she said. "Until the review is concluded it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mr Lubbock said that he would continue to "fight for justice" for his son. "I am pleased but I am erring on the side of caution - I won't get too hopeful until someone is arrested.

"I'll be six foot under if this doesn't happen. I don't go out very much, I don't have a job and I don't have a relationship. All I want to know is the truth about what happened to my son. The people who know what happened will have it on their minds forever."

Aftermath of a mysterious death

* 31 March 2001: Stuart Lubbock is found dead in Michael Barrymore's pool after a party.

* September 2002: An inquest records an open verdict.

* 21 September 2002: ITV dumps Barrymore.

* December 2003: Moves to New Zealand. Files for bankruptcy in 2004.

* January 2006: Comes second on Celebrity Big Brother.

* February 2006: Terry Lubbock fails to bring a private prosecution against Barrymore.

* March 2006: Barrymore's new agent says his client is returning to live in Britain.

* April 2006: Police announce investigation review.