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Monday, 9 September, 2002, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Barrymore pool death inquest opens
Michael Barrymore
Barrymore was arrested during the police inquiry
An inquest into the death of a butcher found in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool began on Monday.

Stuart Lubbock, 31, of Harlow, Essex, died in March last year, shortly after being found at Barrymore's luxury bungalow at nearby Roydon.

Barrymore, 50, who was not present at Monday's hearing, is expected to give evidence at the Epping hearing later this week.

Essex and Thurrock coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray expressed the court's sympathy to Mr Lubbock's family.

Stuart Lubbock
Stuart Lubbock was a father of two

She said: "Stuart was the father of two young children.

"Not only have the family suffered a bereavement but also I'm very aware that they have had to undergo considerable stress as investigations have been carried out against an intense media interest.

"I fully appreciate this stress will probably continue."

She stressed that the inquest was an investigation into a death - not Mr Lubbock's sexual or social activities.

Those areas would only be touched upon if it was necessary as part of the investigation into his death.

Mr Lubbock had spent the evening at a nightclub in Harlow, before returning to Mr Barrymore's home with the entertainer and a number of other men.

Mr Barrymore faced no criminal charges but was cautioned by police for possessing cannabis and allowing the drug to be smoked at his home.

Two other men present at the house when Mr Lubbock was found - JonathanKenney, who was in his early 30s and comes from Blackpool, Lancashire, and Justin Merritt, who was in his mid 20s and comes from Harlow, were also questioned but not charged.

A post-mortem examination indicated Mr Lubbock, a father of two, had drowned and that he had also suffered sexual injuries.

Members of Mr Lubbock's family were at Monday's hearing.

Medical evidence

Tuesday's evidence is expected to come from pathologists as well as medical staff who cared for Mr Lubbock and tried to save his life.

Witnesses who knew the dead man, or were with him in the time leading up to his death, were expected later.

Barrymore is due to give evidence at the inquest on Wednesday or Thursday.

The hearing was adjourned until Tuesday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Sangita Myska reports:
"The coroner has stressed that the hearing is not a trial"

Click here to go to Essex
See also:

09 Sep 02 | England
05 Aug 02 | England
03 Jul 02 | England
20 Nov 01 | Entertainment
30 Oct 01 | Entertainment
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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