The sexual assault and death of Stuart Lubbock at Michael Barrymore’s home in 2001 remains unsolved in 2017. Michael Barrymore, having been arrested under suspicion of the rape and murder of Mr Lubbock, is suing the Chief Constable of Essex Police for his arrest in June 2007 claiming that it was unlawful and he was, as a result, falsely imprisoned. Mr Barrymore brought the action under his real name of Michael Ciaran Parker, seeking damages of £2.4 million. The Claimant, Mr Parker, alleges that he suffered damage and “very substantial financial losses” as a result.
The action has been contested by Essex police force, asserting that the arrest would have been lawful had it been carried out by another officer and the damages should therefore be nominal. Lawyers for Essex police claim that the former TV star suffered no loss as a result of the arrest.
In a judgment reported last month at MICHAEL CIARAN PARKER v THE CHIEF CONSTABLE OF ESSEX POLICE  EWHC 2140 (QB), Justice Stuart-Smith rejected the arguments of Essex police, stating at para 152:
“The overwhelming weight of the evidence leads me to find as a fact that, if the tort of unlawful arrest by Mr Cootes had not occurred, another of the officers present would have arrested the Claimant, also unlawfully. I reject the suggestion that another officer either could or would have arrested him lawfully at the scene of the actual arrest.”
Justice Stuart-Smith, concluded:
“I therefore reject the submission that the Claimant would have been lawfully arrested, with the result that I reject the submission that he is entitled only to nominal damages for false imprisonment.”
The legal basis for the action was founded on the assertion that the arresting officer did not have the requisite reasonable grounds for the suspicion that Mr Parker was guilty of committing the crime of rape and/or murder. The officer in question had not been appropriately briefed in the case and did not have any of the information or evidence relied upon for the purposes of arrest available to him.
Another officer, Jenkins was not at the scene at the time and was reported to be stuck in traffic. The judgment states that she first became aware of the arrest upon arrival at the scene. In his decision, Justice Stuart-Smith was satisfied that Ms Jenkins did have reasonable ground for suspicion and had Mr Parker been arrested by her, the arrest would have been lawful. On assessment of the evidence presented, he came to the conclusion that none of the officers at the scene could possibly have arrested Mr Parker lawfully.
The matter was adjourned with the police force seeking permission to appeal the decision. No decision as to the amount of damages to which Mr Parker should be entitled has yet been made. This will be decided at a further hearing.
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