Man arrested over 2001 sexual assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock, who died in Michael Barrymore’s pool

British entertainer Michael Barrymore. (FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/AFP via Getty Images)

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder and sexual assault of Stuart Lubbock, two decades after he was found in the swimming pool of TV presenter Michael Barrymore.

Lubbock, a 31-year-old butcher, was found dead in a pool at the media personality’s mansion in Roydon, Essex, after a party with eight other guests in March 2001.

His death was initially ruled an accidental drowning, but the post-mortem revealed “horrific anal injuries”, indicating that the victim had been sexually assaulted. Cocaine, alcohol and ecstasy were also found in his system.

In the 20 years since the incident, Barrymore, now 68, and his guests have consistently denied any involvement in Lubbock’s murder, although they were all initially listed as suspects in the case.

But on Wednesday (17 March), Essex police said detectives had “arrested a 50-year-old man in connection with the indecent assault and murder of Stuart Lubbock”.

The unidentified man was arrested in Cheshire, and remains in custody for questioning.

Last year, police said they had “new information” relating to the case, after offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

Michael Barrymore was previously arrested in connection with the Stuart Lubbock case

In 2007, Michael Barrymore, his ex-partner Jonathan Kenny and party guest Justin Merritt were arrested on suspicion of the murder and sexual assault of Stuart Lubbock, but were later released without charge.

He was previously criticised for his reaction during police enquiries, refusing to answer some questions during the 2002 inquest, but insisting that he could not have jumped into the pool to save Lubbock because he could not swim.

At another inquest in 2013, he also refused to answer questions on whether drugs had been present at his party.

According to The Independent, the investigating coroner asked repeatedly whether he had seen any drugs, and Barrymore responded: “I am not prepared to answer that question.”

Last year, a documentary was released about the case, titled Barrymore: The Body in the Pool. After the documentary’s release, Barrymore a video statement, again denying any involvement.

He said: “I have had nothing to do with this whatsoever and yet I keep getting bashed and bullied by the media… The truth is that I’ve always done everything anyone has asked of me and have cooperated with everyone.”