Michael Barrymore wins major lawsuit over rape and murder arrest
Comedian and TV presenter Michael Barrymore has succeeded in his lawsuit against Essex Police.
Barrymore is to get “more than nominal damages” after claiming his wrongful arrest by police destroyed his career.
The exact pay out to the gay star is yet to be confirmed, but his lawyers had asked for upwards of £2.4m in damages.
Police already admitted the arrest was unlawful as the officer had not been fully briefed at the time.
However they claimed Mr Barrymore could have been lawfully detained by another officer instead.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith found there was “information available to the police that could have provided an arresting officer with reasonable grounds for a lawful arrest” the one officer with sufficient information to carry it out was not there at the time the entertainer was arrested.
That officer was stuck in traffic at the time, Essex Police said.
As a result the arrest was unlawful and Mr Barrymore was therefore “entitled to recover more than nominal damages”, justice Stuart-Smith said.
The entertainer has spent more than a decade dogged by a death in his Essex home.
Father-of-two Stuart Lubbock was found dead in Barrymore’s pool in 2001.
A murder case was opened in 2007, after police declared a brand new investigation in 2006.
Earlier this month a leading detective declared that the death was “highly unlikely” to have been murder, but instead a tragic accident.
Former murder detective Peter Kirkham investigated hundreds of pages of evidence for The Mirror, before giving his personal conclusion.
He concluded that “window of opportunity” for an attack to be carried out and covered up was so brief it made it made the possibility of murder almost impossible.
The retired detective told The Mirror: “I think this is extremely unlikely.”
He added: “There was no motive for murder.”
Lubbock was found dead in a pool in Harlow, Essex, after an all-night party which started at a local club.
His bloodstream contained ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol at the time of death, and he had anal injuries.
However detective Kirkham said he believes that the injuries were not consistent with sexual assault.
The entertainer, who sued for £2.5m, “should get substantial damages”, his lawyer told the High Court earlier this year.
Mr Barrymore was arrested six years later, after he relaunched his career with an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, when he came second.
After the arrest, along with two others, he was released without charge.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, representing Mr Barrymore, said during proceedings that his client “made it clear he did not kill or assault Mr Lubbock”.
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Mr Tomlindon said: “Although he was arrested, he was never charged with any offence and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) subsequently made it crystal clear there was no basis for any charges.
“Our case is that when speculation, rumour and conjecture are put to one side, it is clear there is no evidence against the claimant in relation to any offence concerning Mr Lubbock.”
He added: “This arrest was made without any proper evidential foundation.
“However, the fact that it had happened, and the worldwide publicity it received, destroyed the claimant’s career.”
Barrymore was last seen on TV in 2014 in a celebrity special of The Jeremy Kyle Show, where he opened up about struggling with drugs and his mental health.