Michael Barrymore is in the clear
Being under a cloud of suspicion over the death of Stuart Lubbock in 2001 has caused entertainer Michael Barrymore years of torment.
But High Court papers show police have now accepted that they are liable – meaning they admit he was wrongfully arrested and detained.
Dad-of-two Stuart, 31, was found dead in the pool at Barrymore’s then home in Roydon, Essex.
Stuart’s injuries indicated he had been sexually assaulted.
Barrymore was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of murder and rape . He was kept in the cells for 36 hours.
Michael Barrymore was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of murder and rape
Three months later the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
The court papers seen by the Mirror reveal Barrymore’s lawyers signed an agreement with Essex police this month stating: “Judgment be entered for the Claimant [Barrymore] on the issue of liability.”
The star, 64, recently alluded to his long legal battle. When asked by a fan on Twitter what was happening that week, Barrymore replied: “The answer, as much as I can say for the minute, is ‘Justice’”.
He added: “It will be closure, of what should never have happened.”
The same day he wrote in response to an interview request: “I have turned down all offers for a few years now till this was done and dusted…looks like I will be able to.”
Not me Kieran, did that years ago. And the answer, as much as I can say for the minute is "Justice" https://t.co/CxhnwMWGAs
— Michael Barrymore (@MrBarrymore) October 10, 2016
He told followers he could say no more for “legal reasons”.
The star lodged the claim form under his birth name Michael Parker three years ago, saying police had no right to arrest him because there was no evidence of his involvement in Stuart’s death.
Barrymore is seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” for “wrongful arrest and detention” which led him to suffer “loss and damage namely distress, shock, anxiety and damage to his reputation”.
The newly lodged document reveals that Barrymore’s lawyers requested summary judgment, and Essex police applied for and were allowed to amend their defence.
All other matters will be dealt with at trial. The court ruling means Barrymore can now make a claim for damages and it could pave the way for a major TV comeback.
Police chiefs are expected to issue a statement in the next few months after the trial is concluded or a final settlement is reached.
Barrymore says the “actions of the police officers… were oppressive, arbitrary and unconstitutional”.
Police previously defended the claim, stating Barrymore continued to withhold information about what occurred on the night of Stuart’s death.
Stuart’s dad Terry, 71, who now lives in a care home, said: “This is not closure or justice for me.
"That will not come until I find out what really happened to my son. Where did those injuries come from? Stuart didn’t inflict them on himself.”
Stuart Lubbock died at Michael Barrymore’s home
Terry said he could not “forget what happened”.
He also blasted police for failing to treat the death as suspicious when they were called to the house.
The grieving dad added: “The police never did their job. They didn’t even treat the case as a suspicious death and they let people trample all over the crime scene.
“They messed up big time. I hope this opens the case up again and people come forward. I will not give up fighting for justice for my son.”
Barrymore fled the scene of the death, but later said he had panicked and was not trying to hide.
Michael Barrymore’s home where Stuart died
The comedian’s lawyers have argued that his movements on the night had been established, making it impossible for him to have committed the offences.
They claimed his reputation was ruined and his career was ended by the police actions. Officers did not have reasonable grounds for suspecting Stuart had been murdered as the cause of death was unknown, it was argued.
His lawyers also said there was no forensic evidence implicating him.
The legal claim states the case was aggravated by the fact police failed to apologise for the “wrongful arrest” and added that as a result the damage to his reputation continued.
He is demanding at least £25,000 in damages, the papers say.
Terry Lubbock says he "can’t forget what happened"
Police had contested the claim in earlier legal documents, stating in 2014: “Throughout investigations and to this day, the Claimant has consistently failed to give a full or clear account of the events he witnessed and/or participated in at home on the night of Mr Lubbock’s death.”
Barrymore has always denied this, insisting he fully cooperated with police.
In a GQ magazine interview in 2006, he claimed others were hiding secrets about the death.
Asked if he knew who they were, Barrymore replied: “Yes. But I’m not going to say their names. I just hope they are brave enough to come forward one day.”
An Essex police spokeswoman said: “As the matter remains in litigation and is in the hands of lawyers, further comment would not be appropriate.”
The court documents showing Michael is in the clear
ITV axed Barrymore’s £1million- a-year contract in 2002 after the inquest into Stuart’s death.
Barrymore had spent that evening at a nightclub with his then boyfriend, Jonathan Kenney, before inviting Stuart and others home.
At 5.46am another guest, Justin Merritt, dialled 999 to say a man had drowned in the pool.
Police did not treat the house as a crime scene, at first accepting the explanation that meat factory supervisor Stuart had drowned after drinking heavily and taking cocaine and ecstasy.
Only after a postmortem found Stuart, of Harlow, Essex had suffered severe internal injuries was a murder probe launched.
Michael Barrymore was the king of light entertainment
Barrymore was given a caution in October 2001 for drug offences but no further charges were brought. Mr Kenney and Mr Merritt were also arrested on suspicion of murder and later released without charge.
At the inquest, Barrymore he refused to answer questions about drug taking at his home, using a court rule that protects witnesses from incriminating themselves.
An open verdict was recorded.