Essex Police have accepted that Michael Barrymore was wrongfully arrested and questioned over the murder of a man found dead in his swimming pool, it has been reported.
The entertainer is suing the force for holding him in 2007 during an investigation into the death of Stuart Lubbock, a father-of-two whose body was discovered following a party at Barrymore’s Essex home in 2001.
Barrymore was arrested along with two other men on suspicion of murdering the 31-year-old, although the case against them was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
According to the Daily Mirror the 64-year-old is seeking “aggravated and exemplary damages” for his “wrongful arrest and detention” which led him to suffer “loss and damage namely distress, shock, anxiety and damage to his reputation”.
The newspaper said lawyers for the television personality signed an agreement with Essex Police dated October 14 that in effect accepts he was wrongfully arrested and detained.
The newspaper said it had seen legal papers lodged at the High Court that state: “Judgment be entered for the Claimant [Barrymore] on the issue of liability.”
The final figure for any damages has been left for a judge to decide, the papers say.
Barrymore has not commented on Essex Police’s reported admission. He told a fan on Twitter: “As much as I can say for the minute is “Justice”,” adding later: “Only for legal reasons.”
He lost his lucrative contract with ITV in 2002, having appeared regularly on television since the 1980s, following an inquest into the death that saw a coroner record an open verdict.
Mr Lubbock’s father, Terry, 71, told the Daily Mirror that the latest development did not provide “closure or justice” for him.
An Essex Police spokesman told the newspaper: “As the matter remains in litigation and is in the hands of lawyers, further comment would not be appropriate.”