01/03/2007

IPCC to investigation Lubbock death

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will manage an investigation into alleged failures in the police investigation into the death of Stuart Lubbock, the man whose body was found in Michael Barrymore's swimming pool.

The IPCC said that the investigation into Essex Police's investigation into the case was launched following direct complaints made by Mr Lubbock's father, Terry.

The complaints are understood to involve information provided by the police to a coroner and pathologist after Mr Lubbock's death.

The family's solicitor, Tony Bennett, said that Mr Lubbock's family had made serious allegations about police officers.

In a letter to Mr Bennett, IPCC Commissioner Mehmuda Mian Pritchard said: "The investigation into the complaint will be carried out by a police force under our full direction and control.

"I believe it is important for the investigation to be carried out by an external force."

Mr Bennett said that Terry Lubbock was delighted by the decision. He said that Essex Police had told a coroner and a number of pathologists that Stuart had been seen swimming in Mr Barrymore's pool earlier in the evening. Mr Bennett said: "We believe that this was not true and feel that the police should at least have made ot clear that there was some doubt about it."

Stuart Lubbock was found dead at Mr Barrymore's home in Essex in March 2001. A post-mortem revealed that he had suffered severe internal injuries which suggested that he had been sexually assaulted, while alcohol, ecstasy and cocaine were also found in his system.

A coroner’s inquest recorded an open verdict in September 2002 and no-one was charged with any offences in relation to his death.

However, Essex Police announced last December that they were reinvestigating events on the night of Mr Lubbock's death and that the case remained open.

The IPCC investigation will be externally managed, meaning that a police force other than Essex Police will conduct it.

The external force has yet to be appointed. The terms of reference for the investigation will be set shortly.

Both Essex Police and Terry Lubbock's solicitors have been informed of the decision.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said that officers were aware of the IPCC's decision and would co-operate fully.

(KMcA/SP)

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