Stuart Lubbock: who was the man who died in Michael Barrymore’s pool - and how did he know the TV presenter?

Police have arrested a 50-year-old man in connection with Lubbock’s death

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:31 pm
Stuart Lubbock was found unconscious in the pool of television presenter Michael Barrymore's Essex home, in 2001 (Picture: PA)

Twenty years after Stuart Lubbock was pronounced dead after partying at the Essex home of TV presenter Michael Barrymore, a 50-year-old man has been arrested.

On 17 March 2021, the suspect was released on bail after being taken into custody in Cheshire, Essex police have confirmed.

Det Supt Lucy Morris, Essex Police's head of major crime, said the arrest had been made after "significant new information" came to light, following a renewed appeal in February 2020.

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So, who was Stuart Lubbock, what was his relationship with Barrymore and what do we know about his death? This is what you need to know.

Who was Stuart Lubbock?

Lubbock was 31 years old when he was pronounced dead in hospital after being pulled from the outdoor swimming pool of Barrymore’s mansion in Essex, on 31 March 2001.

He had been a butcher and was living in Harlow at the time of his death.

Lubbock was also a father of two and his neighbours described him as a “pleasant, sociable” man.

How did Lubbock know Barrymore?

Lubbock was a guest at Barrymore’s mansion and the pair had been partying with eight others on the night Lubbock died.

Barrymore had spent the evening at the Millennium nightclub in Harlow before inviting friends and locals back to his Essex home.

Lubbock’s death signalled the end of Barrymore’s presenting career.

During a meeting in 2006, Barrymore told Lubbock’s father that his friend’s death “haunts [him] every day.”

Months after this meeting, Lubbock’s family tried to pursue a civil case against Barrymore, for six charges including the misuse of drugs, one alleging drunk and disorderly behaviour and one alleging assault. A judge ruled there was insufficient evidence.

This was prior to the review into Lubbock’s death in April 2006.

In 2007, following the launch of a new police inquiry into Lubbock’s unexplained death, Barrymore and two others were arrested and questioned on suspicion of seriously sexually assaulting and murdering Mr Lubbock.

They were later released without charge and in 2016, Barrymore lodged an appeal for £2.5 million in damages after suing police for his arrest over Lubbock’s death.

The High Court Initially ruled he was due “more than nominal” damages due to the wrongful arrest which he said destroyed his career.

However, in December 2018 the Court of Appeal said Barrymore “was entitled to nominal damages only”, following an appeal by the police.

How did Lubbock die?

In September 2002 an inquest in Epping, Essex, recorded an open verdict on Mr Lubbock’s death.

Medical experts told how he had suffered severe internal injuries, and police concluded that he suffered "horrific injuries" which are "believed to be the result of a serious sexual assault prior to his death".

Alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy were also found in his system.

At the time, Barrymore was cautioned by police for drug offences and allowing his home to be used for smoking cannabis. No charges were ever brought against him.

In 2007, an independent police inquiry led to the reopening of the investigation into Lubbock’s death and this was when Barrymore and the two others were arrested and later released.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) released their findings which detailed how officers had missed vital evidence and had not conducted the adequate forensic tests until six years later.

Police launched a fresh appeal for information over Stuart Lubbock’s death in 2010 but little came to light until Channel 4 broadcasted ‘Barrymore: The Body In The Pool’ in February 2020.

A new police probe into the death was then launched, which is thought to have led police to new evidence.

Who was arrested over Lubbock’s death?

A 50-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of the indecent assault and murder of Lubbock.

Following the arrest, a spokesman for Mr Barrymore, 68, said it would be inappropriate to comment following the arrest.

Police have said they will speak to everyone who was present at the house on the night in question.

The man, who was arrested in Cheshire, has been released on bail.