Man arrested over murder at Michael Barrymore’s home released without charge

Michael Barrymore (left) and Stuart Lubbock (right)

An unnamed suspect arrested in March on suspicion of the murder of Stuart Lubbock at Michael Barrymore’s home was yesterday (August 19) released without charge.

Few murders have garnered as much media coverage as that of then-31-year-old Lubbock, whose death has been under continuous investigation for the last 20 years.

The wholesale butcher’s supervisor returned to entertainer Barrymore’s house after a night out on March 31, 2001. A few hours later, he was found floating dead in Barrymore’s swimming pool.

Alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy were found in Lubbock’s system, and he was found to have severe anal injuries.

The last 20 years have seen several arrests connected to the murder at Michael Barrymore’s home

Initially, Michael Barrymore was arrested on suspicion of the murder in June 2001, alongside fellow party guests Justin Merritt and Jonathan Kenney. A 2002 inquest reached an open verdict. Since then, repeated arrests and investigations have failed to result in prosecution.

The uncertainty around the death led to Barrymore’s career being “paralysed”, according to a 2002 report in The Guardian. His £2million contract with LWT was suspended and ratings for his rare TV appearances dropped sharply.

The latest suspect is an unnamed 50-year-old, arrested in March 2021 after the police said “significant new information” had come to light.

Yesterday (August 19), Essex Police’s senior investigating officer DCI Stephen Jennings said: “We have explored all possible lines of enquiry and sometimes, regrettably, the evidence is not yet there to issue charges.”

Jennings reiterated the force had “worked tirelessly to secure justice” for Lubbock and his family, and that the failure to do so was a “huge personal disappointment to all of the detectives involved in this case”.

The statement concluded with a request for anyone with important information to come forward, as well as a firm belief that “someone, or some people, at that party know what happened”.

Lubbock’s father Terry is said to be distraught at the news. “It is no secret that [he] is suffering extremely ill-health and his wish is to know that justice will be done,” wrote Jennings. “We have never given up on finding out exactly what happened. This case, like all of our unsolved crimes, will remain open and we will continue to pursue any reasonable lines of enquiry.”