Michael Barrymore facing fresh police quiz over the death of Stuart Lubbock
MICHAEL Barrymore is facing a fresh police quiz over the death of Stuart Lubbock — after a fellow party guest was sensationally arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and murder yesterday.
Cops swooped on a man, 50, in Cheshire nearly 20 years after Stuart was found in a pool at the TV star’s Essex mansion.
Officers are set to contact Barrymore, 68, today.
He is said to be “relieved” by the arrest and hopes it will bring the family closure.
The terminally-ill dad of Stuart Lubbock yesterday told of his last wish to get justice for his tragic son.
Terry Lubbock, 76, spoke as police arrested a man, 50, on suspicion of murder over the 2001 death.
Terry, who has cancer and months to live, said: “This has been my life for the past 20 years.
“I’ve not got long left now, the cancer is through my body and I can’t do anything about it.
“I’m just pleased there’s been an arrest.
“I just want justice for my boy, that’s all I’ve ever wanted since this happened.”
'I HOPE IT'S ALL OVER BEFORE I DIE'
He added: “I’ve had false dawns before. I’ve had my hopes up, then dashed.
“I just want this to be the breakthrough.
“There’s not a day when it’s not with me.
“I hope it’s all over before I die.”
The dramatic arrest was made in Cheshire early yesterday, with the suspect quizzed in custody. Last night he was released on bail until April 12.
Mr Lubbock, who lives in a care home in Harlow, Essex, and Barrymore, 68, were both informed of the developments.
Police acted on new information following The Sun’s doubling of the reward to £40,000 last year — in conjunction with a new appeal and Channel 4 documentary about the death of Stuart, 31.
Mike Browne, the star’s agent from 1984 to 2003, said: “I’ve spoken with Michael about the arrest.
“He just kept saying, ‘Let’s hope this time the police have enough evidence to charge someone for Stuart’s murder’.
“Michael is just hoping that with this arrest and, maybe some new evidence, Stuart’s family can finally get some closure.
“All they want to know is how Stuart was injured and how he died. They have lost a son and deserve answers. That’s what Michael wants above all else as well.
“The theory is that someone came forward because of the reward.”
Investigators believe one of the eight party guests holds the key to the death on March 31, 2001.
Barrymore invited them to his £2million home in Roydon, Essex, following a night out in Harlow.
Police said all eight will be contacted following the new developments with action expected as soon as today.
Yesterday, the guests refused to speak to The Sun, including Barrymore’s ex-lover Jonathan Kenney.
We revealed last year Mr Kenney tells anyone who asks that he “had a good time” at the party.
Arrest comes after significant new information came to light following offer of enhanced reward
Another guest, Kelly Campbell, said yesterday: “I’m not going to talk about the case or the arrest.”
Kylie Merritt, 38, James Futers, 43, and Claire Jones, 37, declined to comment.
Det Supt Lucy Morris, from the Essex force, said earlier yesterday: “The man who was arrested in Cheshire continues to be questioned by our detectives.
“Following the arrest, we immediately notified the Lubbock family.
“This arrest is almost 20 years to the day in which Stuart was found unconscious in a swimming pool, following a party at a home in Roydon. He later died in hospital.
“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.
“Over the coming days, we will be contacting all those who were at the party at the time, as well as others who may have information.
“As we stated last February — and have continually stated over the last 20 years — we believe someone, or some people, at that party know what happened.
“It is important to re-state the fact that Essex Police has never given up on this case and that the force is motivated by the desire to deliver justice for Mr Lubbock and his family.
“Stuart’s rape and murder has been an extremely lengthy and complex investigation which has spanned over 20 years.
“We have never given up on finding out exactly what happened to Stuart, and we will not stop in our pursuit of justice for him and for his family and friends.
“As we have said repeatedly over the last 20 years, nine people were at that party.
“We know that not everyone was responsible for what happened, but someone was.
'NOW IS THE TIME TO COME FORWARD'
“Now is the time to come forward if you haven’t done so already, to set this matter to rest by providing us with any information you have.”
Former Strike It Lucky quiz host Barrymore and his guests have always denied involvement — maintaining Stuart was drunk and high, and drowned accidentally.
A pool thermometer and a missing shed handle are believed to be important parts of the investigation.
Barrymore’s career collapsed after the tragedy.
He briefly made a comeback in 2006’s Celebrity Big Brother, finishing runner-up to Chantelle Houghton.
A broken hand forced him out of Dancing on Ice in January last year.
The investigation gathered momentum ahead of Channel 4’s Barrymore: The Body in the Pool, aired in February 2020.
For the first time, the show featured the 999 call reporting the death. A man was heard saying: “A fella has drowned in the pool.
“We have got them out. There’s a party going on and someone has just gone out and found him.”
He added: “I tell you what mate, the first time I’ve been out in four f***ing years. I have me kids every weekend and f***ing hell. I think the geezer’s dead, mate.”
Essex Police Det Chief Insp Stephen Jennings welcomed The Sun’s decision to double the reward last year saying: “It’s never too late to do the right thing.”
20-YEAR TIMELINE OF EVENTS
MARCH 31, 2001: Stuart Lubbock is found dead in a pool at Michael Barrymore’s then-home in Roydon, Essex.
APRIL 2001: A post-mortem concludes cause of death was drowning. Pathologists find traces of cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol in Mr Lubbock’s system.
JUNE 2001: Barrymore quizzed a number of times and spends a night in police custody after being arrested on drugs allegations arising from the inquiry.
SEPTEMBER 2002: Coroner records an open verdict on the death of Mr Lubbock.
NOVEMBER 2002: Barrymore’s lawyers successfully demand Essex Police re-investigate matters surrounding Mr Lubbock’s death.
JANUARY 2006: Barrymore makes a high-profile return to the UK and attempts to relaunch his career after coming second in Celebrity Big Brother.
DECEMBER 2006: Police announce they will reopen the investigation after Barrymore claims there were other witnesses to the events of the night.
JUNE 2007: Barrymore arrested on suspicion of serious sexual assault and murder. He has always denied any involvement in the death.
SEPTEMBER 2007: Barrymore answers bail and police question him further. He and two other men are later released without charge.
JULY 2015: Barrymore sues Essex police as 2007 arrest “damaged his career”.
AUGUST 2017: High Court finds in favour of Barrymore over technicalities of arrest — but only nominal damages were awarded to the TV star.
FEBRUARY 2020: Essex Police receive a string of new leads following Barrymore documentary and The Sun doubling award to £40,000.
MARCH 2021: Police arrest a man, 50, in Cheshire, on suspicion of indecent assault and murder of Mr Lubbock.
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