Timeline: two decades since Stuart Lubbock died in Michael Barrymore’s pool

PA reporters
·4-min read

Here is a timeline of events following the death of Stuart Lubbock at the home of entertainer Michael Barrymore.

2001
March 31: Mr Lubbock, 31, of Harlow, Essex, is found dead at Barrymore’s home in nearby Roydon following a party. The entertainer is questioned by police.

October: Barrymore accepts an official caution for drugs offences and allowing his home to be used for smoking cannabis. No further charges are brought.

Entertainer Michael Barrymore (William Conran/PA)
Entertainer Michael Barrymore (William Conran/PA)

2002
September: An inquest in Epping, Essex, records an open verdict on Mr Lubbock’s death. Medical experts tell the hearing that he had suffered severe internal injuries, suggesting he may have been the victim of a serious sexual assault. Alcohol, cocaine and Ecstasy were also found in his system. ITV also announces that it has “no plans” to commission any further shows from the star.

2003
September: Barrymore abandons a comeback attempt after the first three nights of his one-man show in London receive bad reviews.

December: Amid reports that he has received a £1.4 million tax bill, he leaves the UK to live in New Zealand with his long-term partner Shaun Davis.

2004
May: Barrymore announces that he has filed for voluntary bankruptcy in the UK because of the “unexpected” tax demand.

2006
January: Barrymore returns to screens in the UK as a Celebrity Big Brother housemate.

He remains in the house for three weeks and is runner-up in the final poll, leading to speculation that his showbusiness career will be revived.

Michael Barrymore is evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house (yui Mok/PA)
Michael Barrymore is evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house (Yui Mok/PA)

After emerging from the house, Barrymore holds a tearful two-hour meeting with Mr Lubbock’s father Terry in a London hotel.

Mr Lubbock reportedly tells the entertainer he does not hold him “responsible” for what happened.

Barrymore is said to have responded: “It haunts me every day.”

February: Mr Lubbock’s family is blocked from launching a private prosecution against the celebrity.

A district judge in Southend, Essex, rules there is insufficient evidence for a hearing on six offences – four related to the misuse of drugs, one alleging drunk and disorderly behaviour and one alleging assault.

April: Police announce that they are reviewing Mr Lubbock’s death as part of “routine” procedure.

December: Essex Police begin a new inquiry into Mr Lubbock’s death.

Detectives said their decision to reinvestigate followed a review of the initial inquiry.

2007

March: Police issue a new appeal for information on the sixth anniversary of Mr Lubbock’s death.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) also launches an inquiry into the original police investigation surrounding Mr Lubbock’s death.

June:
Barrymore and two other men are arrested and questioned on suspicion of seriously sexually assaulting and murdering Mr Lubbock.

They are later released without charge.

2009
February: The IPCC publishes the findings of a review of the police investigation into Mr Lubbock’s death, including that officers missed crucial evidence and did not ensure vital forensic tests were completed until six years later.

2010
March: Police launch a fresh appeal for information over the death.

2011
December: Barrymore admits cocaine possession and is fined £780.

2016
December: Barrymore lodges an appeal for £2.5 million damages after suing police who arrested him over Mr Lubbock’s death.

2017
August: A High Court judge rules Barrymore is entitled to “more than nominal” damages against Essex Police over the wrongful arrest which he said destroyed his career.

Stuart Lubbock (Essex Police/PA)
Stuart Lubbock (Essex Police/PA)

2018
December: The Court of Appeal says Barrymore “is entitled to nominal damages only”, following an appeal by the police.

2020
February: A Channel 4 documentary about Mr Lubbock’s death prompts Barrymore to issue a fresh denial of any wrongdoing, saying: “I have had nothing to do with this whatsoever and yet I keep getting bashed and bullied by the media.”

2021
March: Terry Lubbock hints at the possibility of fresh evidence emerging, telling PA: “I wouldn’t be surprised if someone cracks soon under all this pressure and decides to get it off their chest once and for all.”

On March 17, Essex Police announces a 50-year-old man has been arrested in Cheshire in connection with Mr Lubbock’s murder and indecent assault.