Part 2: Michael Barrymore v Essex Police: No cause of Death, no grounds for arrest, claims Barrymore’s lawyer.
Pathologists and toxicologists have never found the exact cause of Stuart Lubbock’s death.
Four experts gave different reasons for the death of a man found in Michael Barrymore’s swimming pool in 2001.
One toxicologist said the level of drugs in Stuart Lubbock’s blood was sufficiently high to cause death on its own.
Barrymore was cross-examined at the official inquest in 2002 and answered questions freely.
But he declined to answer question about drugs, in order not to incriminate himself.
During the inquest, Mr. Lubbock’s family did not suggest that the tradesman had been murdered.
But the coroner reached a conclusion that the death could not be ascertained.
Today, the Royal Courts of Justice heard that a meeting had been in 2001 a year before the inquest.
The meeting was between the senior investigating officer in charge of the Barrymore case, other officers from Essex police, and experts in immersion and death
A series of questions were posed to a pathologist who was present.
‘There’s not enough evidence for unlawful killing,’ was one of the conclusions of the meeting.
From that point on, ‘they (officers of the Essex Police) have got to be very careful,’ said Barrymore’s lawyer Mr. Hugh Tomlinson QC.
‘There were anal injuries but no obvious explanation for them.’
Heart failure, drugs and drowning were given as differing causes of death.
One doctor said he couldn’t exclude the possibility that anal injuries were caused by a penis.
But Mr. Tomlinson said they had not been caused by rape, describing the allegations as ‘astonishing.’
And the doctor also concluded that the injuries could have been caused by a ‘blunt instrument.’
Despite the inconclusive findings of the first police investigation and the inquest, a decision was taken to reopen the case by Essex Police in 2007, lead by SIO Gareth Wilson, who re-interviewed witnesses.
Wilson later became the head of Sussex Police.
Barrymore, who agreed to cooperate with Wilson’s team, was interviewed in January 2007 but was not as suspect at this point.
He became one on June 5th, 2007, shortly before he was arrested.
Mr. Tomlinson argued that the police did not have reasonable grounds for arrest.
‘The material was slim indeed,’ Mr Tomlinson said.
The arrest justification for murder and rape led to Barrymore and two other suspects, who had been at the party in 2001, to be detained.
The fresh evidence amounted to a new statement saying that a man has witnessed Barrymore pestering Lubbock for sex.
A female had come forward saying that a ‘hairbrush had been used on Mr. Barrymore on the night of his death.’
The hairbrush was allegedly the ‘blunt instrument’ that police believed had been used to sexually assault Lubbock.
The source of this statement was alleged to be Barrymore’s boyfriend, Shaun Davis.
But this statement was not followed-up with Mr.Davis, who was by then living in New Zealand.
Mr. Tomlinson said that statements, which underpinned the fresh inquiry, were were ‘inaccurate.’
There was also ‘bad character’ evidence included in the police dossier, which Mr. Tomlinson said was ‘manifestly false.’
One unreliable witness in New Zealand, who turned out to be a conman with 94 aliases, made a statement claiming that he’d heard Barrymore saying an inculpatory statement.
It turned out that Barrymore was not in New Zealand at the time.
This was dismissed by Barrymore’s lawyers.
Counsel John Beggs QC, representing the Chief Constable of Essex Police, said that Barrymore had expressly denied giving ecstasy to Mr Lubbock.
There were very large quantities of cocaine in Mr Lubbock’s blood and some ecstasy, according to Mr. Beggs.
The court was told that there was no physical evidence that Lubbock was drowned.
Mr. Beggs told the court that experts had agreed that Mr Lubbock has suffered a non-consensual sexual assault before his death.
The experts said that this was ‘unequivocal’ and that the anal injuries were not as result of a rectal thermometer later used to take the temperature of Barrymore’s body, as has been posited by Barrymore’s solicitor Damian McAlinney.
Under cross examination, SussexChief Constable Gareth Wilson, who conducted the investigation into the death of Stuart Lubbock in 2007 whilst he was a DS with Essex Police,, agreed with Mr Tomlinson that the 2001 police probe had been ‘bungled.’
Mr Wilson said: ‘There were significant issues regarding scene security.
‘It wasn’t Essex Police’s finest hour.’
But Mr. Wilson defended his decision to re-investigate the murder saying that it was possible to prosecute a murder, despite not knowing the cause of death.
He said that he reopened the investigation because he thought the suspects might say something new, which could be put before a forensic pathologist.
Essex Police instructed Dr. Nathaniel Cary, Consultant Forensic Pathologist approved by the Home Office, to conduct a review of the pathology evidence and give his view on the cause, time and mechanism of death.
In the conclusions to his first report dated 18 May 2007, Dr Cary concluded that there was evidence of serious sexual assault.
He did not consider there to be “any possible benign or accidental explanation” for the nature and extent of the injuries, adding: “in particular any suggestion that injuries to the anus might have occurred post-mortem is quite absurd.”
He agreed with the earlier findings of Professors Calder and Crane that the victim of such injuries would ordinarily be expected to suffer “severe pain” though noted that Mr Lubbock could have been rendered “stuporose” and unable to perceive or respond to pain by the effect of alcohol and/or drugs.
However, Mr Tomlinson put it to Mr. Wilson that Mr. Lubbock had suffered from piles which influenced the anal injuries of Mr Lubbock.
Mr Wilson said that haemorrhoids had been discounted as a factor after questions were asked as part of the overall inquiry.