BARRYMORE FILES: Report of 'imminent' evidence file going to CPS in Lubbock case 'fake news'


CLAIMS that Essex Police was about to send a file of evidence to the CPS for an "imminent charging decision" after a man, 50, was arrested on suspicion of the murder of Stuart Lubbock can today be exposed as "fake news".

Several national and local newspapers reported from May 3 that an evidence file to the CPS was imminent.

One was headlined "Police ready to charge suspect over Stuart Lubbock’s death at Michael Barrymore’s home 20 years ago."

The 50-year-old was arrested in Cheshire in March and released under investigation.

The report said the "dossier" being prepared for the CPS "is said to include evidence relating to the suspect’s alleged involvement Stuart's death."

A source told the paper that police believed there was enough evidence to take the case to court, with a force spokesman adding: “Following our substantial and detailed investigation, we will imminently be submitting a file to the CPS for their consideration and decision.”

The report said that Stuart's father Terry Lubbock, 76, who has terminal cancer, welcomed the news, but may have just days left to live.

However within a few weeks no CPS decision followed.

Essex News and Investigations asked the CPS when the decision was due only to be told the "imminent" file had not yet arrived from Essex Police three weeks on.

Instead, the CPS said the force had asked it for advice - an entirely different process to sending an evidence file for a charging decision.

In complex cases, officers can ask for early advice to help advance their investigation and provide guidance as to what will be needed to complete a full file of evidence for submission. The process is said to take several weeks.

The reports in various titles changed, without correcting earlier versions.

A CPS spokesman said: "We are assisting Essex Police and have provided ongoing support."

An Essex Police spokesman added: "The file has now been submitted to the CPS for early advice on the evidence."

Mr Lubbock died at Barrymore's home in Roydon, Essex, after attending an after party there with eight other people on 31 March 2001 following a night out in Harlow. He was found dead by emergency services next to the swimming pool after being told by guests they had pulled him out. A post-mortem examination showed the 31-year-old had suffered severe internal injuries that suggested he had been sexually assaulted. Alcohol, ecstasy and cocaine were found in his bloodstream. But, Essex Police said there were no grounds to continued a murder probe just months later and a coroner later recorded an open verdict in the case. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault and murder after "significant new information" came to light, Essex Police said. Essex News and Investigations chased the CPS and was told to contact Essex Police, so we asked the force if there was any timescale for the evidence file being submitted to the CPS. The force said this week: "There is no update."

We replied: "Was the story earlier this year a red herring? It doesn't seem to have been true what was reported that a file was nearly ready to go to the CPS?" The force has not responded to this after five days.

Essex News and Investigations Opinion "A cynic would argue that knowing Terry Lubbock was very ill, Essex Police wanted to give him some good news - and in this case better news than was actually happening. For the force to suggest an evidence file that could lead to charges was imminent was just not cricket and in the words of Donald Trump "fake news". The force should have just been clear that what was about to be sent to the CPS was asking for advice and that any file seeking a charging decision could be weeks, if not, months away, as has been the case since. The "imminent file" story would have just got Terry's hopes up.

Now, let's just hope that a file for a charging decision will be sent within the next few weeks and there will finally be justice in this case that was originally botched by the force."