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Monday, 16 September, 2002, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Barrymore faces perjury investigation
Michael Barrymore
Mr Barrymore's answers are under scrutiny
Police are investigating claims that entertainer Michael Barrymore lied during last week's inquest into the death of a partygoer at his house.

Essex police said an allegation of perjury had been referred to them by coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray, who recorded an open verdict over the death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock.

A solicitor for Mr Barrymore said the star would be happy to speak to police to refute the claims.

Mr Lubbock's mother, Dorothy Hand, said she hoped Mr Barrymore never works in television again.


I would never want him to work again - I used to watch all his programmes

Dorothy Hand
Following criticism from Mr Lubbock's family the BBC said on Monday that it had "postponed indefinitely" plans to publish a new autobiography by the star.

Mr Lubbock was found face down in the swimming pool at Mr Barrymore's home in Roydon, Essex, on 31 March of last year.

A post-mortem examination revealed high levels of alcohol and drugs in his system and injuries which may have been caused by a serious sexual assault.

Cocaine

The coroner began investigating claims that Mr Barrymore had committed perjury after his ex-wife, Cheryl Barrymore, said he had lied when he told the inquest he could not swim.

The coroner recorded an open verdict into the death of Stuart Lubbock, 31
The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established

Mrs Barrymore also told solicitors acting for Mr Lubbock's family that she had regularly seen him administer drugs to others.

She made the claim after the star denied rubbing cocaine on Mr Lubbock's gums at the party.

During the inquest Mr Barrymore, 50, refused to answer other questions about drug taking.

'Totally untrue'

The entertainer denies all allegations of lying to the inquest.

On Monday his solicitor, David Corker, said the coroner had acted "quite properly" in referring the perjury allegations to police.

"If the police wish to speak to Mr Barrymore in order for him to refute the allegations made by Mrs Barrymore he will be pleased to do so," he added.

On Saturday Mr Corker had said: "He cannot swim. He says he couldn't swim yesterday and he cannot swim today.

"The allegation of him dabbing cocaine on people's gums - that's totally untrue. He hasn't and would never do anything like that."

'Convinced'

Speaking on Channel Four's Richard and Judy programme, Mr Lubbock's mother said: "I would never want him (Mr Barrymore) to work again. I used to watch all his programmes."

Dorothy Hand
Dorothy Hand says somebody knows what happened to her son
Mrs Hand and Mr Lubbock's father, Terry, are also considering whether to sue Mr Barrymore on behalf of their granddaughters, a spokesman for the show said.

Mrs Hand also accused people of holding back information about her son's death.

She said: "We all hoped that we would be able to get something of the truth of everything (at the inquest).

"It's opened up more questions than answers."

Asked if she thought someone knew what happened to her son, Mrs Hand added: "I am convinced. It is inconceivable that somebody does not know."

'Squalid'

Mr Barrymore's autobiography, commissioned in 2000 and called Running Away From Myself, was due to be published in October.

The decision to postpone its release indefinitely was taken on Monday by Rupert Gavin, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, after talks with BBC Director General Greg Dyke.

Mrs Hand said it was "disgusting" that Mr Barrymore had added the death of her son to his book adding: "It's cashing in on what has happened."

A BBC spokesman stressed that the book would not contain any details that had not already been aired to the coroner and police.

John Whittingdale, shadow culture secretary, said: "Most people are shocked that Mr Barrymore should feel it appropriate to publish a book so soon after the death of Stuart Lubbock. For the BBC to have published it would have been outrageous."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Margaret Gilmore reports
" His lawyer insists he told the truth"
Michael Barrymore's lawyer David Corker
"The family have been through enough"
Stuart Lubbock's family's solicitor Peter Richards
"It seems squalid... that such a book should proceed"
Former BBC Governor Lord Rees Mogg
"The publication of this book could only damage the BBC"
See also:

16 Sep 02 | UK
13 Sep 02 | England
13 Sep 02 | Entertainment
13 Sep 02 | England
12 Sep 02 | England
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