British comedian Michael Barrymore may have been arrested along with two other men over the death of Stuart Lubbock, according to the BBC.
In March 2001, 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock died after three witnesses, including Barrymore, claimed to find him motionless floating in Barrymore’s swimming pool. Although post-mortem tests showed that he died as a result of drowning, alcohol, ecstasy, and cocaine were found in his body. He also suffered severe anal injuries, suggesting that he had been raped.
At the time tabloid papers accused Barrymore of having drug-fuelled gay orgies in his Essex home, claiming that he was responsible for the death. Barrymore denied all allegations.
The Press Association are reporting that Barrymore, 55, was one of the three men arrested by Essex police. A 37-year-old man in Lancashire and a 32-year-old man in Staffordshire were also arrested on suspicion of serious sexual assault and murder.
Following Lubbock’s death in 2001 Essex police carried out an investigation to no avail. Two people who attended Barrymore’s party, unemployed Justin Merritt and drag queen Jonathan Kenney were arrested in June 2001, but were later released. The inquest that took place in September 2002 reached an open verdict.
In December 2006, Essex police reopened the case and the Independent Police Complaints Commission launched a separate investigation. The IPCC investigation is currently on hold. In January 2006 following Barrymore’s participation in Celebrity Big Brother, Terry Lubbock, father of Stuart Lubbock, met with Michael Barrymore and apparently told him he didn’t blame him for his son’s death.
“I don’t believe you had anything to do with what happened to him,” he told Barrymore, according to the Sun.
Since Stuart’s death, Terry Lubbock has leaded a campaign to secure a conviction in his son’s case. He and Barrymore are said to have an amicable relationship.
Lubbock’s lawyer Tony Bennett said he was “quite surprised and shocked” that Barrymore may have been arrested.
“We’ve always thought [Barrymore] may have known more but up till now we’ve never had any indication that he might have been involved in the actual assault, and Tony Lubbock has never actually alleged that and neither have I,” Bennet told the BBC.
“What we’ve been campaigning for over the past 18 months is for somebody to be charged and brought to court.”