Barrymore wants £2.4m payout for unlawful arrest
Dead man’s father says awarding TV star more than nominal damages would be ‘disgusting’
MICHAEL BARRYMORE is claiming more than £2.4 million in damages from Essex Police after a High Court judge ruled he was wrongfully arrested because the officer who was intended to detain him got stuck in traffic.
The comedian and television presenter was arrested and detained in June 2007 on suspicion of the rape and murder of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found in the swimming pool at his Roydon home six years earlier.
The officer who had intended to carry out the arrest was delayed in traffic – with the result that the other officer, who was part of the surveillance team but had not been briefed on the detailed grounds, was instructed to perform the arrest.
Essex Police had admitted the arrest was unlawful, as the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Barrymore was guilty.
John Beggs QC, for Essex Police, said Mr Barrymore, 65, suffered no loss as a result of the “technically” unlawful arrest because he would have been ar- rested in any event as there “clearly were” reasonable grounds for suspecting him of the offences.
Mr Justice Stuart-smith, sitting in London yesterday, ruled against the force, which had argued that Mr Barrymore should only receive a nominal payout. The judge did not decide on the sum to be awarded, as his ruling dealt only with the preliminary issue of the level of damages to be awarded to Mr Barrymore, who brought the action in his real name, Michael Ciaran Parker.
Mr Justice Stuart-smith ruled that the defendant – the Chief Constable of Essex Police – “has failed to prove that, if not arrested unlawfully as he was, Mr Parker could and would have been arrested lawfully”. He added: “Mr Parker is entitled to recover more than nominal damages.”
Mr Barrymore values his claim at £2.4million. Essex Police argued that he could have been lawfully arrested by another officer, meaning that only an award of nominal damages should be made, rather than the “substantial” sum sought by the star. The judge ruled that there was “information available to the police that could have provided an arresting officer with reasonable grounds for a lawful arrest”.
But he added that “there was only one designated arresting officer who had sufficient information and had been sufficiently briefed to enable her to arrest Mr Parker lawfully”.
A post-mortem revealed Mr Lubbock had suffered serious anal injuries and, in 2002, an open verdict was recorded at the inquest into his death.
Mr Lubbock’s father, Terry, said: “The judgment today is disgusting, after 16 years I think it’s a total coverup, even by the police … we’ve got to go back 16 years now for the truth and the police messed up on the first day when my son was murdered. They were disgusting.” He added on Barrymore’s compensation bid: “I don’t think he should have got anything. The way this is going now I think he could have asked for even more. It’s disgusting.”
Terry Lubbock was awarded £6,800 compensation in 2007. Essex Police said: “Today’s judgment must not overshadow the questions which are still unanswered for Mr Lubbock’s family and friends. Sixteen years on, they still need to know what happened to Stuart on that night, how he was injured, and who is responsible for his death.”
Michael Barrymore was arrested in 2007 on suspicion of murder and rape