Michael Barrymore, one of ITV’s biggest stars with a string of hit shows, is pictured in 2017
At least two people were involved in the rape and murder of a guest at Michael Barrymore’s mansion, the police chief leading a new investigation has said.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings said that given the severity of Stuart Lubbock’s injuries it was ‘likely’ more than one person had been complicit.
All eight people at the party held at the former TV star’s home remained under suspicion – including Barrymore himself, DCI Jennings said.
And Mr Lubbock’s father is convinced Barrymore knows more about the incident than he has revealed.
DCI Jennings said: ‘I can’t rule out an individual but on the balance of probabilities from the level of intelligence we’ve got, it’s more likely that more than one person was involved.
‘I believe that he was raped and murdered that night. One or more of those party-goers are responsible for that serious sexual assault.’
DCI Stephen Jennings from Essex Police speaks at the force’s headquarters in Chelmsford yesterday, ahead of the new Channel 4 documentary about the death of Stuart Lubbock
Terry Lubbock, the father of Stuart Lubbock who was found dead in Michael Barrymrore’s swimming pool, speaking at Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford, ahead of a new Channel 4 documentary about the death of his son
The force revealed it is offering a £20,000 reward in conjunction with Crimestoppers for information leading to arrests.
The body of Mr Lubbock, 31, was found in the pool of Barrymore’s £2million home in Roydon, Essex, on March 31, 2001.
Stuart Lubbock, 31, died following a party at Michael Barrymore’s house in March 2001
Barrymore, one of ITV’s biggest stars with a string of hit shows including Strike It Lucky, fled from the house before police arrived.
A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Lubbock, a divorced father-of-two from Harlow, had suffered major internal injuries consistent with rape.
The cause of death was never established and an open verdict was recorded after conflicting reports from pathologists. Cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol were found in his system.
Barrymore was arrested on suspicion of rape and serious sexual assault in 2007, along with two other people.
No charges were brought due to lack of evidence.
Barrymore, now 67, – who has always denied any involvement in the death – launched a high court case for £2.4million damages for wrongful arrest. He received a nominal sum after Essex Police won an appeal.
Police believe Mr Lubbock was sexually assaulted and murdered with his body possibly moved from a jacuzzi to make it look like he had accidentally drowned
The Channel 4 Documentary has exclusive photographs from inside Barrymore’s house
Michael Barrymore in December last year after he was forced to pull out of ITV’s Dancing on Ice following a wrist injury
DCI Jennings yesterday added: ‘Eight people were at the party. I don’t think all eight were involved [but] I don’t think I’m looking for anyone else who climbed over the wall and committed these offences.’
Mr Lubbock’s father Terry, 74, called for the TV presenter to ‘clear your name’ or ‘put your hands up’.
He said: ‘I think it’s time he comes clean,’ he said. ‘It’s time now Michael. I think you know more about this than you have said and the focus will be on you.
‘It’s time now for you to either clear your name or put your hands up to what happened because you must know… I think the people who were there in Michael Barrymore’s home on that day, on that night, are thinking it hasn’t gone away, it won’t go away.
‘Even the people who aren’t directly involved in this must be starting to feel very, very uneasy and it’s time now for them.
‘The penny’s dropped now, it’s time for people to come forward whether they are directly involved or indirectly involved. Any bit of information they have got, they must come forward with that.’
He called for a fresh post-mortem and inquest for his son, while Mr Jennings said Stuart’s injuries were too severe to have been consensual or self-inflicted, and suggested he may have been held down.
The comments come ahead of a new programme which charts the police’s investigation into the death, as well as the attempts by entertainer Barrymore to restore his public image following the incident.
The documentary tells the story of the death through interviews with journalists, forensics experts and people who knew Stuart.
At the beginning of the 90-minute programme, the 999 call reporting the incident to police is played.
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings (pictured) said that given the severity of Stuart Lubbock’s injuries it was ‘likely’ more than one person had been complicit
The caller said: ‘A fella has drowned in the pool. We have got him out.
‘There’s a party going on and someone has just gone out and found him. I think the geezer’s dead mate.’
Last year Barrymore spoke about the death, telling Piers Morgan’s ITV show Life Stories that he ‘couldn’t be more sorry’ for his behaviour that night, and that he is ‘100% innocent’.
He was arrested in 2007 but never charged with any offence.
He sued Essex Police and claimed it was a wrongful arrest that had cost him about £2.5 million in lost earnings, but Court of Appeal judges concluded he would be entitled to only ‘nominal’ damages.
Barrymore: The Body In The Pool will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Thursday.
THE TIMELINE OF EVENTS FOLLOWING STUART LUBBOCK’S DEATH
MARCH 31, 2001: Stuart Lubbock is found floating in a pool at Barrymore’s then home in Roydon, Essex.
APRIL 2001: A post-mortem examination concludes the cause of death was drowning. Pathologists tell a hearing in Epping that traces of cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol were found in Mr Lubbock’s system.
JUNE 2001: Barrymore is quizzed a number of times during the course of the criminal investigation and spends a night in police custody in June after being arrested on drugs allegations arising from the inquiry.
SEPTEMBER 13, 2002: The coroner recorded an open verdict on the death Mr Lubbock.
NOVEMBER 2002: Barrymore’s lawyers successfully demanded that Essex Police re-investigate matters surrounding Mr Lubbock’s death.
JANUARY 2006: Barrymore makes a high-profile return to the UK in January 2006 to take part 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 14, 2007: Barrymore, his ex-partner Jonathan Kenney and Justin Merritt are arrested on suspicion of serious sexual assault and murder.
JULY 31, 2007: It is announced that Barrymore had been re-bailed to appear at an Essex Police station on September 10.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2007: Barrymore answers bail and police are granted a further 12 hours to question him. Barrymore and the two other men are later released without charge.
JULY 2015: It is revealed Barrymore is suing Essex police because his arrest in 2007 ‘damaged his career’.