Michael Barrymore to hear result of damages action over wrongful arrest

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Entertainer Michael Barrymore is to learn the result of his damages action against Essex Police over the wrongful arrest which he says destroyed his career.

Mr Barrymore, 65, was arrested and detained in June 2007 on suspicion of the rape and murder of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found in the swimming pool at his Roydon home six years before.

Essex Police has now admitted the arrest was unlawful, as the arresting officer did not have reasonable grounds to suspect that Mr Barrymore was guilty.

But it says the comedian and TV presenter could have been lawfully arrested by another officer and that, as a result, he is only entitled to nominal damages.

Mr Barrymore's claim, including aggravated and exemplary damages, is in excess of £2.4 million.

At a hearing at London's High Court earlier this year, Hugh Tomlinson QC said Mr Barrymore was never charged with any offence and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) later made it "crystal clear" there was no basis for any charges.

He told Mr Justice Stuart-Smith - who will give his ruling on Friday - that Mr Barrymore remained convinced that Mr Lubbock's injuries were not caused at his home but he did not know what happened.

He added: "This arrest was made without any proper evidential foundation.

"However, the fact that it had happened, and the worldwide publicity it received, destroyed the claimant's career."

The case is concerned with the issue of whether the damages should be substantial but will not fix a figure.

Mr Lubbock's body was found in the pool after a party where drugs and alcohol were consumed.

A post-mortem examination later revealed that he had suffered serious anal injuries.

In 2002, an open verdict was recorded at the inquest into his death.

John Beggs QC, for Essex Police, said it admitted the arrest was unlawful on the basis that the arresting officer did not have in his mind at the time reasonable grounds for suspecting Mr Barrymore of the offences for which he arrested him.

The officer who had intended to carry out the arrest was delayed in traffic - with the result that the other officer, who was part of the surveillance team but had not been briefed on the detailed grounds, was instructed to perform the arrest.

Mr Beggs said Mr Barrymore suffered no loss as a result of the "technically" unlawful arrest because he would have been arrested in any event as there "clearly were" reasonable grounds for suspecting him of the offences.