Open verdict returned in Barrymore pool death inquest

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 13 2002 11:00 PM ET

The inquest into the death of a man found in the Essex, U.K., mansion of out British TV entertainer Michael Barrymore recorded an open verdict on Friday, meaning the case remains unsolved and may be reviewed in the future. Stuart Lubbock, 31, of Harlow, Essex, was found unconscious in Barrymore's swimming pool in nearby Roydon in March 2001. He died in hospital the morning after. "None of these witnesses, who were party guests, have given an explanation about how Stuart Lubbock should be found floating in a swimming pool with a significant level of alcohol and drugs in his system and have serious anal injuries," said the coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray.

Barrymore had given evidence to the inquest in Epping on Thursday. "There has been no evidence that Michael Barrymore played any role or had any responsibility for the death of Stuart Lubbock," said the entertainer's lawyer, David Corker, after the verdict. A statement read out on behalf of the Lubbock family by their lawyer, Peter Richards, said they understood and accepted the five-day inquest's verdict and welcomed that the Essex police investigation--led by Detective Superintendent Ian McNeil--had not been closed. "The outcome allows the police to act on any new information that comes to light," said McNeil. "I personally find it frustrating that I have not been able to find out how Stuart Lubbock died."

In March 2002 detectives investigating Lubbock's death said that no charges would be brought against the 50-year-old Barrymore. Post-mortem tests showed Lubbock had drowned, and two men were arrested in connection with his death. No charges were brought against the men, although in subsequent weeks Barrymore was cautioned for possession of cannabis and allowing his home to be used to smoke the drug.