The Body In The Pool
What Happened to Stuart Lubbock — Unsolved
What was originally labelled as a tragic drowning accident at a party has been shrouded in mystery ever since with the victim’s grieving dad sending out several allegations of rape, and murder over the years, why?
The simple fact is that Stuart Lubbock met his unexplained death at a party at the mansion home of TV Strike it Lucky start Michael Barrymore in Royden, Essex UK. The victim was an everyday factory worker and far from the celebrity world of the party where he died.
The 31-year-old was found dead in an outdoor swimming pool on March 31st 2001, he had been severely sexually assaulted. In September 2002, an inquest lead by Coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray heard that Stuart had consumed the equivalent of nine pints of beer before he was murdered and had both ecstasy and cocaine in his system. He had suffered some quite severe internal injuries that indicated he had suffered a serious sexual assault prior to his death.
Had the young man been murdered to silence him after he was viciously raped? Had he been drowned in the chlorinated pool to help hide vital evidence? I suspect so yes.
It seems that several mistakes were made during the investigation of rape and murder at the Essex mansion, Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings said “Evidence was hidden and someone that was there knows what happened”
He went on to say “We did make mistakes in terms of the crime scene. A lot of witnesses at the time said it was a tragic accident so we believed them”
The investigation began after a 999 call to Essex police where the caller said “A fella has drowned in the pool, we have got him out”
Police immediately rushed to the scene along with the ambulance service but, despite resuscitation attempts, factory worker Stuart Lubbock was pronounced dead at the scene.
It seems that the whole sorry case has been covered by “A wall of silence” where no-one has ever offered any statement that would help the police settle the case, despite it being blatantly obvious that one of the party-goers knows for certain what happened in the early hours of March 31st 2001.
Stuart had been out for the evening on the town with his brother Kevin and somehow he crossed paths with Michael Barrymore and his boyfriend Jonathan Kenney at The Millenium Nightclub in Harlow, Essex.
By 0100 everything was a bit crazy and according to eyewitness accounts, the celebrity Barrymore was quite drunk. He sent out word of an after-club party at his mansion.
At 2.15am Barrymore had lost sight of his boyfriend and Stuart was alone, his brother had seemingly already left. As a result, Stuart Lubbock somehow managed to get in the taxi along with other guests that had never met one another before that night and made a fifteen-minute journey to the home of the Strike-it-lucky star.
Whether the comment may be of any relevance is unclear but the taxi driver, Keith Herrett said that he recalled Michael Barrymore saying “I could do with a good F*** right now.
According to witnesses when the unusual group of strangers arrived at the Essex mansion, Michael Barrymore opened a massive refrigerator that held a huge quantity of drinks and Stuart hit the vodka. Kylie Merrit, another partygoer told the media that she had witnessed Barrymore offer Stuart some cocaine but the 31-year-old declined, then Barrymore put some of the powder on his finger and popped it into Stuart Lubbock’s mouth.
Kylie went on to say that Stuart had recoiled sharply at the actions of the celebrity entertainer but it was denied that Barrymore had offered any illegal substances to any of his guests that night. So why would Kylie Merrit, a bin man’s sister make something like that up? Someone was clearly lying.
It could be that Kylie was covering up her own involvement in the whole dreadful saga but, as Stuart Lubbock was raped before he was murdered it doesn’t seem that likely but of course, we must not rule out every possible scenario.
It is quite important to say that Michael Barrymore did admit to having a serious drug problem and that he had drunk pretty much a full bottle of whisky that night as well as a quantity of wine.
According to the entertainer, he recalled seeing Stuart heading for the jacuzzi where he knew both males and females had gone and he never saw him again.
Sometime between 0300 and 0400, Michael Barrymore’s boyfriend returned home with two other female guests in tow, namely Kelly Campbell and Claire Jones. Around the same time, two friends of Barrymore from the village; James Futers and Simon Shaw turned up to join the party.
An unnamed witness claims that Stuart Lubbock was seen messing around with a baseball cap by the pool after leaving the jacuzzi and it has been suggested that there are a “vital ten minutes” when he was alone near the pool.
Neighbours claimed that they heard screams as late as 0500 coming from the mansion, although Barrymore claimed that he found Stuart between 0430 and 0445. He said that he had been showing two guests, Shaw and Futers to the jacuzzi when he saw Stuart’s body at the bottom of the swimming pool not moving.
The star did not dive in to try to rescue his guest as he claimed he cannot swim, yet his late wife Cheryl and his former bodyguard had both said that he was very competent in the pool. Instead, he went to fetch his then-boyfriend Kenney who was a qualified first aider. In fact, Futers and Shaw dragged the lifeless body from the water then Kenney attempted to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Eventually, at 0546 a 999 call was made by another of the party guests although Barrymore said the call had been made “almost immediately”. So why all the time discrepancies Mr Barrymore? At first, he claimed that he found Stuart as early as 0400 then changed his story to between 0430 and 0445 yet the 999 call was made at 0546!! Something very odd here.
I appreciate people were drunk and thus memories may not have been that accurate but I am sure that even the most drunken person would sober up rapidly having found a man drowned in a swimming pool that he was responsible for. I know that I would be sober very quickly and would make a note of times of finding the body, death, etc.
Now comes a very interesting part of this story; Claire Jones who was 17 at the time told the police that once the ambulance had been called she witnessed Barrymore change his clothes, go through some drawers then leave with a “bundle of material”, has this material ever been found and identified?
Claire went on to tell the police that Jonathan Kenney was also rushing around the bungalow prior to the police arriving and appeared to be hiding things. I can see that by their own admission that they were drug users so he may well have been hiding evidence of drug use and possession.
The initial belief of the paramedics was that Stuart had suffered a heart attack as there was no sign of blood on the body, although in my opinion how on earth a man that had been rescued from the bottom of a swimming pool could be presumed to have had a heart attack is a bit beyond my common reasoning.
The staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow worked for two hours to resuscitate Stuart before they had to admit defeat and declare him dead at 0823.
Police had asked a guest to measure the water temperature in the swimming pool to determine whether cold water could have triggered a heart attack, once again such an important task left to a drunken guest. Anyway, the pool thermometer was not available and has never been found to this day. It went missing along with the shed door handle which it has been claimed was used to sexually abuse Stuart.
Michael Barrymore insists that Stuart Lubbock did not suffer any sexual injury whilst he was at the party and suggests that the damage could have been done by the hospital thermometer which had been inserted anally some 14 times during attempts to revive him. Interestingly, Jack Crane, a senior pathologist said that the injuries to Stuart could not possibly have been caused by a rectal thermometer.
Professor Crane went on to say that the injuries were so severe that by a blunt object being forced into him anally. There was much controversial debate and disagreement at a 2012 hearing as to whether the injuries were actually the cause of death.
Doctor Michael Heath, a somewhat discredited Home Office pathologist determined the cause of death as drowning but it is worth pointing out that he has since resigned from his post after bungling two other murder enquiries.
Stuart had allegedly taken enough ecstasy and cocaine to kill him and was three times over the drink-drive limit for alcohol so this has also been suggested as a contributor to his death but I feel that it was murder, as do many others.
Two other pathologists have indicated that marks on the victim’s forehead were conclusive with an arm being clamped around his head whilst being raped and that he almost certainly died of suffocation. Why so many different versions of events, why so many submissions? Someone covering for someone somewhere big time.
Either way, I am inclined to agree with the submissions of Stuart’s father Terry Lubbock who believes that his son was dead before his body entered the water and that he was thrown into the pool in order to cover up the murder.
Merrit, Kenney and Barrymore were all arrested during 2007 on suspicion of serious sexual assault and murder, but all three were released without charge and still maintain their innocence today. Amazing what a big fat wallet and a “well paid” lawyer can do.
My closing note is this; Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings said “I believe that Stuart Lubbock was murdered and the case is most definitely not closed”
I will leave it there friends, I have my opinions and I will continue to follow this case closely and may well return at a later date to bring updates to you.
On March 17th 2021 an un-named 50-year-old man was arrested in connection with this case, He was arrested in Cheshire and interviewed by Essex police after new information came to light.
Essex police say that the man has been interviewed and released on bail until April 2021, whilst further enquiries are made, more updates as we get them.