Star welcomes new pool death probe

Detectives re-investigating the death of a butcher whose body was found in a swimming pool at the home of entertainer Michael Barrymore said yesterday they hoped to "establish the full facts" behind the tragedy.

Detectives re-investigating the death of a butcher whose body was found in a swimming pool at the home of entertainer Michael Barrymore said yesterday they hoped to "establish the full facts" behind the tragedy.

Officers trying to discover what happened to 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock five years ago said they would "strive to ensure that justice was served".

Police announced the new investigation after reviewing the initial inquiry. But they said it would not be undertaken in the media.

Mr Lubbock's father, Terry, appealed for "anyone who knows anything" to come forward.

And Mr Barrymore, starring in Scrooge at The Sunderland Empire from tomorrow (Tues) welcomed the police decision to take a second look at the case.

Mr Lubbock, from Harlow, Essex, was found dead at Mr Barrymore's home in nearby Roydon in March 2001. A lengthy investigation was carried out but no-one was charged with any offences in relation to his death.

Mr Barrymore accepted an official caution for drugs offences following the inquiry.

A coroner recorded an open verdict following an inquest in September 2002.

Mr Lubbock had been among a number of people at a party at Mr Barrymore's home.

Post-mortem examination tests showed that he had suffered severe internal injuries which suggested sexual assault. Alcohol plus ecstasy and cocaine were found in his bloodstream.

Mr Lubbock Snr, also from Harlow, has mounted a determined campaign for a new inquiry.

In February he failed in an attempt to launch a private prosecution against Mr Barrymore. He wanted the entertainer to answer allegations of drug misuse, disorderly behaviour and assault.

But a district judge blocked the move - following a private hearing at a magistrates court in Southend, Essex - saying there was insufficient evidence.

Mr Lubbock yesterday said "all he wanted was the truth".

"There were several people at that house on the night he died and somebody knows something," he said.

"None of them has ever come forward to tell us, or the police, the whole truth. I hope that is pricking their conscience.

"All I want to know is the truth about what happened to my son and why he died. I beg someone to have the courage and come forward and tell the truth.

"They must know it won't ever go away. The people who know what happened will have it on their minds forever.

"I urge anyone who knows anything at all to please tell the police all they know."

Mr Barrymore said he was "delighted and thrilled" by the new inquiry, adding: "I will give my full support and hope the case can come to some conclusion for everyone's sake."

He said he was "willing to give every single assistance I can to bring closure to this matter".

Police would not say whether Mr Barrymore had been questioned as part of the new inquiry - or whether he would be questioned. He was questioned during the initial investigation.

"Essex Police does not wish this investigation to be undertaken in the media," said a spokeswoman.

"We share the family's wish to establish the full facts of how Stuart Lubbock came to meet his tragic death and will strive to ensure that justice is served."

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