On 31 March 2001, Essex police received a 999 emergency call from a party guest at the home of Michael Barrymore, who reported that a body had been found in the TV star's swimming pool. First responders found 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock unresponsive, and by the time police arrived on the scene Barrymore had already left the property with two friends, leaving his partner Jonathan Kenney to explain to officers what had transpired. During a drug fuelled night of partying, Lubbock had apparently either fallen into the pool or drowned whilst swimming after becoming inebriated. Barrymore denied any wrongdoing, and at the subsequent inquest the coroner heard from the seven other people present that night how Lubbock had been drinking heavily and taking drugs supplied to him by the tv star. With conflicting statements and no clear timeline of the events, the coroner recorded an open verdict on the death of Stuart Lubbock. As a result of the media scrutiny over the case, Barrymore's television career effectively ended. The police re-opened the investigation in December 2006, and it was revealed that key evidence had gone missing from the property that would have helped with their enquiries. In June 2007, Barrymore, his former partner Kenney and another party guest were arrested on suspicion of murder and serious sexual assault. They were questioned at length about the night of Stuart Lubbock's death, but with no firm evidence, the three men were released and told no charges would be made against them. Barrymore would launch his own legal case against Essex police for his wrongful arrest, but would eventually drop his claim. In February 2020, Essex Police re-opened the investigation again, offering a £20,000 reward for information and appealing to those who were present on the night of Stuart Lubbock's death to come forward and help solve the case.
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