top of page

BARRYMORE FILES: Star's lover lied to police saying entertainer was not home on night Stuart Lub

EXCLUSIVE: MICHAEL Barrymore's lover tried to cover up the fact the star had been at the house when Stuart Lubbock died there.

Jonathan Kenney, 49, lied to police in his first statement made on the morning Stuart died saying Barrymore was not there.

Nineteen years on from the mysterious death Essex Police and The Sun newspaper have put forward a £40,000 reward for information that leads to the prosecution of anyone responsible for the death which happened at the star's home in the early hours of March 31 2001.

DCI Stephen Jennings, who heads the investigation, believes Stuart was raped with an object, which caused serious internal injuries, before he was put in the swimming pool to make it look like a drowning.

Three of the nine people at the after party in the celebrity's home, including Mr Barrymore, Mr Kenney, and Justin Merritt, were arrested on suspicion of rape and murder in 2007, but released without charge.

No charges have ever been brought in the case after the CPS said there was insufficient evidence.

Essex News and Investigations has been given access to witness statements and other documents from the case.

MURDER? Stuart Lubbock's mysterious death has never been solved (Essex Police)

Each of the eight people who were at the home when Stuart died made a series of statements, which grew in detail as time went on.

In Mr Kenney's first statement, given on the morning of the death, he insisted Mr Barrymore never came back to the property and wasn't there.

He also failed to mention two other guests, James Futers and Simon Shaw, who left with Mr Barrymore before police and the ambulance crew arrived, being there. Two other guests, Kelly Campbell and Claire Jones said in statements to police that Mr Kenney asked them to say Barrymore hadn't been there soon after the star left the scene. Mr Kenney claimed in his first statement to police that Justin Merritt, his sister Kylie Merritt, and Stuart, who met Barrymore and Mr Kenney in the club, arrived at the house in a taxi, and he came back with the two young women Miss Campbell and Miss Jones, then 17.

'NOT THERE' Jonathan Kenney said lie was to shield Barrymore from media (ITV)

He wrote: "Michael did not join us and did not come back to the house."

In truth, Barrymore had been in the taxi Stuart was in and got to the house before Mr Kenney.

He admitted the lie in a second statement made just two days later after all other witnesses put in their first statements that Mr Barrymore was there throughout.

He subsequently wrote: "The reason I said he wasn't there (was) in order to protect him (Mr Barymore) from the media."

It is an offence to lie in witness statements, but Mr Kenney was never charged with perverting the course of justice over this.

The statements also expose the large numbers of inconsistencies in witness accounts of how Stuart was found.

Each witness was asked to make further statements over a number of weeks and they became more detailed as time went on.

Mr Kenney's first statement said he heard a female voice shout someone was floating in the pool and ran out and found Stuart floating face down.

He claimed to pull him out with the help of Miss Merritt before trying first aid.

His second statement changed to say Barrymore alerted him to Stuart floating in the pool, and when he got outside he had already been pulled out by someone unknown.

Barrymore said in his first statement that he alone saw Stuart floating face up in the pool, and ran to get Mr Kenney, who then pulled him out.

In a later statement Barrymore said he saw the body first, but Mr Shaw and Mr Futers pulled him out.

Mr Shaw said in his statement that he was with Mr Futers and Barrymore when he saw Stuart at the bottom of the pool and jumped in to try to get him out.

Futers concurred with Mr Shaw's account that he saw the body first.

Justin Merrit said he went outside after hearing "someone's drowning" and saw his sister giving Stuart mouth to mouth with Mr Kenney leaning over. However, she said she ran out and saw Mr Kenney leaning over Stuart alone.

In a brief first statement on the night Miss Jones said she came out and saw Mr Kenney and Miss Merritt trying to save Stuart.

In a more detailed statement the next day she said Mr Kenney said quietly to her "Michael was never here OK?"

ANSWERS: Stuart's campaigning Dad Terry Lubbock wants a second inquest into his son's death (EN&I)

However, she had still named him in the first one she made.

Miss Campbell said she saw Mr Merritt and Mr Kenney with Stuart's body and that she and Claire panicked and left the property followed by Barrymore who was holding a jumper.

She said he said to them "just get out of here," but they got worried about the consequences and went back.

She said when they got back Mr Kenney pleaded with them not to say Barrymore was there. Mr Shaw said it was his idea for Barrymore to leave the scene, and come to his nearby flat with Mr Futers, where the star stayed for about two hours before he was spoken to by police.

Mr Shaw said the next day in his flat he found a bong used for smoking cannabis that many of the witnesses said Barrymore had been smoking at his home during the night.

If you are one of the guests, who now wants to reveal what happened that night, or someone else with information about the case contact

bottom of page