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Thursday, 12 September, 2002, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Barrymore silent on drug questions
Michael Barrymore
Michael Barrymore appeared at the Epping inquest
Television entertainer Michael Barrymore has refused to answer questions about drug taking at an inquest into the death of a man found floating in his swimming pool.

On Thursday the hearing was also told the 50-year-old star allegedly rubbed his finger in cocaine and put it on Stuart Lubbock's gums at his luxury house in Roydon, Essex, in the early hours of 31 March last year.

Mr Lubbock, 31, was later found face down in the pool.

Post-mortem examinations discovered he had a combination of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, in his system.

Stuart Lubbock
Mr Lubbock had taken ecstasy

Recounting events leading up to the tragedy, Mr Barrymore, wearing a dark single-breasted suit, light blue shirt and light brown tie, gave his account in a monotone voice to the packed hearing in Epping.

But asked by Essex and Thurrock coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray about the drug allegation, Mr Barrymore stated: "I'm not prepared to answer that question."

Cocaine

Mrs Beasley-Murray then asked: "Did you see him (Stuart Lubbock) at any other time while he was in your house take drugs?"

Mr Barrymore replied: "I'm not prepared to answer that question."

Mr Barrymore insisted that there was no way that injuries suffered by Mr Lubbock could have happened in his home.

"There were no screams from the house of horror, as they reported it," he said.

Internal injuries

Asked whether he was aware there was a possibility that Mr Lubbock suffered serious internal injuries whilst in the house, Mr Barrymore replied: "I cannot see how that is a possibility. I cannot see how that is a possibility."

Further pressed on whether he was aware that police had found evidence of cocaine in his house, Mr Barrymore replied: "I am not prepared to answer that question."

Asked whether he rubbed cocaine into the gums of Mr Lubbock, he replied: "No, I did not."

Asked whether cocaine was in his house in the morning before the night in question, he said: "I am not prepared to answer that question."

Earlier, Kylie Merritt, who also went to the party, claimed Mr Barrymore offered the guests cocaine.

'Against his will'

She wept as she told the inquest she saw Michael Barrymore put some cocaine on his finger.

"He rubbed it on Stuart Lubbock's gums," she said.

Asked whether that was done against his will, Miss Merritt replied: "Yes. Because he (Stuart) pulled away."

The hearing continues.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Thatcher
"Barrymore insists he had not met Mr Lubbock before that evening"

Click here to go to Essex
See also:

12 Sep 02 | England
11 Sep 02 | England
10 Sep 02 | England
09 Sep 02 | England
20 Nov 01 | Entertainment
30 Oct 01 | Entertainment
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