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Michael Barrymore set to get substantial payout from police for wrongful arrest

Michael Barrymore says the wrongful arrest for rape and murder destroyed his career. Credit: PA

Entertainer Michael Barrymore is set to receive a substantial payout from Essex Police for a wrongful arrest on suspicion of rape and murder which he says destroyed his career.

A High Court judge ruled the entertainer was entitled to "more than nominal" damages over his treatment.

Comedian and TV presenter Mr Barrymore was detained in June 2007 over the death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, who was found in the swimming pool at Mr Barrymore's Roydon home six years before.

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

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, sitting in London on Friday, ruled against the force, which had argued that Mr Barrymore should only receive a nominal payout.

The judge did not decide on the sum to be awarded, which will be decided at a later hearing.

Mr Barrymore, 65, who was not present for the decision, values his claim at more than £2.4 million.

Stuart Lubbock was found dead in the pool at Mr Barrymore's house. Credit: PA

Mr Barrymore brought the action in his real name, Michael Ciaran Parker.

His lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson QC, told a hearing earlier this year that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made it "crystal clear" there was no basis for any charges against the entertainer.

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

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

Essex Police had argued that Mr Barrymore could have been lawfully arrested by another officer and as a result was only entitled to nominal damages.

Siding with Mr Barrymore, High Court judge Mr Justice Stuart-Smith ruled that the Chief Constable of Essex Police "has failed to prove that, if not arrested unlawfully as he was, Mr Parker could and would have been arrested lawfully".

He added: "Mr Parker is entitled to recover more than nominal damages."