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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Drugs blamed at Barrymore inquest
Michael Barrymore
Stuart Lubbock was found in Michael Barrymore's pool
Drugs and alcohol contributed to the death of a man found in the swimming pool at television star Michael Barrymore's home, an inquest has heard.

Pathologist Dr Michael Heath said that high levels of alcohol, amphetamines and cocaine found in Stuart Lubbock's body may have caused him to swallow water and be unable to get out of the water.

But the Home Office pathologist has ruled out the involvement of anyone else in the 31-year-old's death.

Father-of-two Mr Lubbock, of Harlow, Essex, was certified dead in hospital after being found in the pool on 31 March last year.

Stuart Lubbock
Stuart Lubbock died in the pool says pathologist
A post mortem examination gave the cause of death as drowning.

Dr Heath told the inquest in Epping that blood tests showed Mr Lubbock had 223mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood in his system when he died.

Amphetamine-based substances and the by-products of cocaine use were also found.

But Dr Heath said he would have been surprised if the levels had made Mr Lubbock unconscious, although his reaction time and perception would have been reduced.

"It is important to note he had high levels of alcohol and drugs in him.

"This could have been the initial trigger for him to inhale water and not be able to extract himself from the pool," Dr Heath told the inquest.


There was no evidence of a third party having been involved in Mr Lubbock's death

Pathologist Dr Michael Heath
It was also possible that Mr Lubbock had fallen, he said.

Dr Heath said Mr Lubbock had small injuries such as cuts and bruises on his body at the time of his death.

Some were caused by the efforts to resuscitate him but he added that in his opinion the cuts and bruises had "no significance" in regard to his death.

Dr Heath said he had considered the possibility of a "traumatic episode", pressure on the neck or suffocation.

But he told the hearing: "I could find no evidence for that. I could find no evidence that he'd been in a scuffle and nothing of restraint or defence ...

"There was no evidence of a third party having been involved in Mr Lubbock's death."

Sexual injuries

Asked whether he could have died from asphyxia due to sexual assault, he said that he could find no pathological evidence to support such a theory.

He added that recent sexual injuries were likely to have occurred after Mr Lubbock left the Millennium nightclub in Harlow for Mr Barrymore's house and a party.


One would have to be cautious about the diagnosis of drowning

Professor Christopher Milroy

"It is my opinion that death was due to immersion. That means he died while he was actually in the swimming pool," he said.

But Professor Christopher Milroy, a forensic pathologist at the University of Sheffield, said caution needed to be exercised in a diagnosis of drowning.

Professor Milroy, who carried out a second post mortem examination, said pin-head sized haemorrhages on Mr Lubbock's face and behind his eyes were often see in connection with "some constriction of the neck".

He added: "One would have to be cautious about the diagnosis of drowning."

The hearing continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Thatcher
"We've heard a lot of very detailed medical evidence"

Click here to go to Essex
See also:

09 Sep 02 | England
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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