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Police review death of man at Barrymore's home

Written by: Staff

LONDON, Apr 19 (Reuters) Police said today they had reopened their inquiry into the death of a man who drowned at a party held at TV entertainer Michael Barrymore's Essex mansion five years ago.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said the case was being looked at as part of a routine review of unsolved cases and that no decision had yet been taken whether to question anyone.

''If as a result of something that comes out of the review we think we need to reinterview anybody concerned with the case, not just Mr Barrymore, then we will do so,'' she said.

Meat factory worker Stuart 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.

Lubbock's father, Terry, told Reuters he was ''totally elated'' by the review of the case.

''It's the first firm foot on the path to justice. It's taken five years and we've still got a long way to go but this could be a big start for us.'' Lubbock says he does not blame Barrymore for his son's death but wants the entertainer to reveal what he knows about how his son died.

Post mortem tests showed Lubbock's son 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.

''Mr Barrymore finds himself backed into a corner and he's now got to come clean about what he knows. The whole thing has been covered up,'' said Lubbock.

Barrymore, now based in New Zealand, is due to be back in Britain next week.

He said he welcomed the police review.

''I have always maintained that I would do all I can to help both the police and the Lubbock family,'' he said in a statement.

''I also told Terry Lubbock, when I met with him earlier this year, that I would do anything to help him bring this case to an end.'' Tony Bennett, a lawyer who tried unsuccessfully earlier this year to bring a private prosecution against Barrymore over the death, said Lubbock just wanted to find out how his son died.

''He doesn't want revenge, he just wants to know what happened and then he can close the matter in his own mind.'' REUTERS PG PM0024

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