'I saw Barrymore give cocaine to pool victim'

by STEPHEN WRIGHT, Daily Mail

Michael Barrymore gave cocaine to the man who drowned during a drugs and sex orgy at the entertainer's £2million mansion, it was claimed yesterday.

The disgraced comedian is said to have rubbed the drug along the gums of father-of-two Stuart Lubbock minutes before his mysterious death.

Traces of cocaine, and other drugs, were found in Mr Lubbock's body after he was discovered floating in Barrymore's swimming-pool last March. According to dustman Justin Merritt, who was at the party, Barrymore supplied cocaine to revellers he met only hours earlier at a club.

The revelations deepen the controversy surrounding the case after the 49-year-old star escaped the serious drug charges which were recommended by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Essex Police ignored the advice and cautioned Barrymore, whose career has been in tatters since the tragedy, for possessing cannabis and allowing it to be used at his home.

Yesterday, in an interview with the News of the World, Mr Merritt, 26, recalled: 'There was me, my sister Kylie, Stuart Lubbock and Barrymore sat around the main worktop in the centre of his kitchen.

'After sorting drinks for everyone, Barrymore brought out a plastic straw and some cocaine wrapped in paper. It had been ripped from a porn magazine.

'He opened the parcel, showed me the coke, and asked, "Do you fancy a line?" Then he spread it on the worktop, chopped it up with a credit card and bent down to take a snort with the straw.

"Barrymore then offered it to me. I had a line, then he asked Kylie if she wanted one.'

Mr Merritt's 19-year-old sister told the newspaper: 'I said, "No, I'm all right, thanks". I was just trying to take it all in. We were strangers he'd only met a few hours earlier and he was offering us drugs.'

According to her brother, the star then offered the cocaine to Mr Lubbock. He said Mr Lubbock refused 'but then Barrymore wiped some of the coke on his finger and poked his finger in Stuart's mouth.

'Stuart jerked his head back as if to say, "What the hell are you doing!" but didn't try to stop Barrymore. He was rubbing it on his gums.'

The party at the star's home in Roydon, Essex, was in full swing when Mr Merritt was joined in the outdoor Jacuzzi by John Kenney, Barrymore's then-boyfriend.

Mr Lubbock, 31, rushed out wearing only a pair of shorts. 'Stuart seemed hyperactive,' said Mr Merritt.

'He climbed into the Jacuzzi and threw his arms in the air, yelling as he slid under the water. Then he burst to the surface, giggling hysterically.'

Mr Merritt and Mr Kenney later went back inside the mansion, leaving Mr Lubbock in the pool. About 30 minutes later, his body was found.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of murder, but have since been cleared of any involvement in Mr Lubbock's death. Detectives have confirmed that neither man will face criminal charges.

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