Stuart Lubbock: Everything we know about death at Michael Barrymore pool party

A 50-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the murder and indecent assault of a party guest at entertainer Michael Barrymore’s mansion 20 years ago.

Stuart Lubbock, 31, was pronounced dead in hospital after he was pulled from an outdoor swimming pool at the luxury home in Roydon, Essex, in the early hours of March 31, 2001.

Eight other people were at the party, including Barrymore, now 68, who has repeatedly denied involvement in the death of Mr Lubbock, a dad-of-two and butcher who was from the local area.

Police confirmed they plan to speak to the eight people who were at the party with Mr Lubbock, telling reporters “not everyone was responsible for what happened, but someone was”.

Barrymore, now living in London, has decided not to speak out following Wednesday’s arrest.

His spokesperson said that at this stage of the investigation it wouldn’t be appropriate to pass comment.

Detectives are expected to try to speak to people including Barrymore within days after telling reporters that everyone who was at the party would be contacted.

The arrest of a 50-year-old man comes just over a year after police issued a fresh appeal which coincided with a Channel 4 documentary that explored Mr Lubbock’s death and included a recording of a 999 call.

Then 49, Barrymore had spent the evening at the Millennium nightclub in Harlow before inviting friends and locals back to his mansion in the early hours of March 31, 2001.

Mr Lubbock was found unconscious in the swimming pool and pronounced dead in hospital.

Police later concluded that he suffered “horrific injuries” which are “believed to be the result of a serious sexual assault prior to his death”.

Barrymore was criticised for leaving his home soon after Mr Lubbock was found floating in the outside pool.

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.

Who was Stuart Lubbock?

Mr Lubbock was a dad-of-two who worked as a butcher and lived in the local area.

His grieving family have never given up their search for “justice” following his death.

At an inquest in September 2002, Mr Lubbock was described by his former partner as a devoted father with a “bubbly” personality.

His two children “were his pride and joy”.

Who was arrested?
Police say a 50-year-old man was arrested in Cheshire on Wednesday on suspicion of the murder and indecent assault of Mr Lubbock.

He remains in custody where he continues to be questioned.

The man’s name was not released.

What led to the arrest?

A new police probe into the death was launched in February last year to coincide with the Channel 4 documentary Barrymore: The Body In The Pool.

Essex Police said “significant new information” came to light following the new appeal, TV documentary and a reward that was doubled to £40,000.

Speaking outside Essex Police headquarters in Chelmsford, Detective Superintendent Lucy Morris said: “The arrest comes after significant new information came to light following our renewed appeal for information and offer of an enhanced reward, which coincided with a major TV documentary broadcast in February 2020.

“This information has led to us making an arrest and over the coming days we will be contacting all those who were present at the party at the time as well as others who may have information.

“We believe someone or some people at that party know what happened.”

She added: “We have never given up on finding out exactly what happened to Stuart, and we will not stop in our pursuit of justice.

“Nine people were at that party – we know that not everyone was responsible for what happened, but someone was.”

And in a renewed appeal for further information, she added: “Now is the time to come forward.”

Michael Barrymore get emotional in 2020 as he talks about Stuart Lubbock’s death

A spokesperson said Barrymore would not comment to reporters on Wednesday’s arrest.

Detectives are expected to contact him in the “coming days”, after police said they would try to speak to everyone who was at the party.

In the past, the former Strike it Lucky TV presenter, born Michael Parker, repeatedly denied involvement in the death.

The Channel 4 documentary prompted 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.”

In 2019, he spoke about Mr Lubbock’s death, telling Piers Morgan’s ITV show Life Stories that he “couldn’t be more sorry” for his behaviour that night.

The one-time Royal Variety Performance host insisted he is “100 per cent innocent”

Barrymore and two other men were arrested in 2007 on suspicion of serious sexual assault and murder, but were later released without charge.

His TV career collapsed in the wake of Mr Lubbock’s death, although he enjoyed a brief return to the spotlight during a stint on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

How did Mr Lubbock’s family react?

Responding to the arrest, Mr Lubbock’s 76-year-old father Terry, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, said: “There is just so much going on in my head, I can’t get my head around it.

“Of course I’m happy. Of course this is good news.

“But it’s been 20 years. This has nearly killed me.”

He recently told the Mirror he was hoping for a breakthrough before he dies and he has launched a push for a new inquest, based on “new evidence”.

The dad now lives in a care home in Harlow, Essex, less than three miles from Barrymore’s former home in Roydon where his son died.

Harry Clichy, a friend of the Lubbock family, added: “Of course this is progress. We can only hope it leads to justice for Stuart after all these years.”

He told the Mirror: “If there’s anybody else out there who hasn’t come forward with information we would appeal for them to do so.

“Terry has been through 20 years of hell.

“He’s delighted at the arrest but he knows this is only the start because he wants to see a charge and a conviction.”

What did the inquest conclude?
A coroner recorded an open verdict during an inquest into Mr Lubbock’s death in September 2002.

Medical experts told the hearing that he had suffered severe internal injuries, suggesting he may have been the victim of a serious sexual assault.

Barrymore was criticised for leaving his home soon after Mr Lubbock was found floating in the outside pool.

He later told the inquest in Epping that he “felt sick” and “panicked and ran off” after seeing Mr Lubbock’s body.

He was also criticised for failing to answer some questions at the inquest.

What were the failings in the initial police investigation?
In 2009, the police watchdog published the findings of a review of the investigation into Mr Lubbock’s death, concluding that officers missed crucial evidence and did not ensure vital forensic tests were completed until six years later.

Last year, DCI Stephen Jennings said officers were wrong to assume it was accidental drowning.

He admitted failings in the way the crime scene was handled by police led to key pieces of evidence going missing.

Barrymore sued Essex Police and claimed it was a wrongful arrest that had cost him about £2.5million in lost earnings, but Court of Appeal judges concluded in December 2018 he would be entitled to only “nominal” damages.