Barrymore wants £2.4m pay­out for un­law­ful ar­rest

Dead man’s father says award­ing TV star more than nom­i­nal dam­ages would be ‘dis­gust­ing’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Daily Tele­graph Re­porter

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

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