Barrymore not to blame for son's death, says father

By Tim Castle

LONDON - The father of Stuart Lubbock, found dead in the swimming pool at TV star Michael Barrymore's mansion in England five years ago, says he does not blame the entertainer for the death.

Lubbock's 61-year-old father Terry met Barrymore for the first time at the weekend and told the Sun newspaper that he and Barrymore had agreed to work together to uncover the truth about the death.

Meat factory worker Lubbock, 31, was pronounced dead in hospital the morning after a party at Barrymore's home in March 2001.

No charges were brought against Barrymore, 53, over the death but public scandal over the case destroyed his once highly successful TV career.

"We are going to demand police reopen the investigation into what happened that night," Lubbock's father said.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions all round."

Campaigners seeking to find out how Stuart Lubbock died called for Barrymore now to make public all he knew about the incident.

They said they would continue with plans to bring a private legal case against the entertainer.

Barrymore has been living in New Zealand, but came back to Britain this month to appear in Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother programme.

Terry Lubbock had always demanded answers from Barrymore about what happened to his son but the paper reported he had told the entertainer he did not blame him for the death.

Lubbock met Barrymore after the end of the Big Brother show, which finished on Friday night, in a meeting arranged by the Sun.

"I don't hold you responsible for Stuart's death", the paper quoted Lubbock as telling Barrymore.

Lawyer Tony Bennett welcomed the meeting but said he would continue with a legal application to get Barrymore summoned to court to answer a number of charges, including one alleging the entertainer assaulted Lubbock.

"The first step now is for Barrymore to make an absolutely clean breast of it and tell everything that he knows, because up to now he has told a very partial story," Bennett said.

Harry Cichy, chairman of campaign group Lubbock Trust, said the meeting was "one step nearer seeing justice for Stuart".

"All along Terry has wanted to confront and meet Michael Barrymore. Barrymore knows the truth of what happened that night," he said.

Post mortem tests showed Stuart Lubbock had drowned and an inquest recorded an open verdict on his death.

The coroner said he had been found with drugs and alcohol in his system and with serious anal injuries.

Police arrested two men on suspicion of Lubbock's murder, but later released them without charge.

"The way it has been portrayed is that Stuart died in some awful gay sex orgy at my house," Barrymore told the Sun.

"But that is simply not true. It was just a terrible tragic accident."

- REUTERS

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