Police probe Lubbock website

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Terry Lubbock (left) and Tony Bennett Terry Lubbock (left) and Tony Bennett

THE website set up following the death of Stuart Lubbock who died following a party at entertainer Michael Barrymore's Roydon home six years ago is at the centre of a police investigation following a complaint that it contains homophobic comments.

The Lubbock Trust website - www.lubbocktrust.org.uk - contains various sections, including one with extracts from a recently published book giving the family's view on the case.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Essex Police has received an allegation concerning homophobic comments being published on a website. A priority of Essex Police is to investigate all reports of hate crime. A full investigation is currently being conducted to identify whether offences have been committed."

Harlow solicitor Tony Bennett, who has represented the Lubbock family - and failed in a bid to bring a private prosecution against Barrymore over Stuart's death - confirmed today that he has been contacted by police over the website's content, but said he has not been told any specific details of the content being investigated, or who made the complaint.

An email sent to Mr Bennett by Detective Sergeant Marina Ericson, passed to the Guardian by Mr Bennett, states: "As the supervisor for the Hate Crime Unit at Harlow Police Station my team are now reviewing the contents of the website to establish if any offences are present. We will endeavour to conduct these enquiries as soon as practicable in order to cause minimal disruption to yourself.

"I will provide you with an update at the earliest opportunity, and should we need to speak to you about these enquiries at a later date I will make contact and arrange a mutually agreeable appointment."

Mr Bennett has made an official complaint to Essex Police about its handling of the situation.

His complaint has since been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission which has been reviewing the whole Lubbock investigation following a complaint by Stuart's father, Terry.

Mr Bennett said: "Given that last week we learned from sources that there are 219 terrorist networks operating in the UK I'm amazed that the police have time to have a chat with me (about the website). All I can say is that I'm awaiting further developments. In some ways I find it amusing, in other ways it just seems bizarre."

Mr Lubbock, of Great Brays, Harlow - who is launching his book tomorrow (Friday) - said: " This (the complaint and website investigation) is a diversion (from his campaign to find out what happened to his son) which I don't want to take any part in. My aim is as it has always been, to get justice for my son Stuart and that is the only thing in my life now. I'm not going to let anything distract me from that.

"This latest episode is not doing the campaign a lot of good."

Mr Lubbock added he had "no idea" who had made the complaint.

Stuart Lubbock died after returning to Barrymore's then home in Beaumont Park Drive, Roydon, with others following a night out at the Millennium nightclub in Harlow in March 2001. Various questions remain unanswered over the circumstances surrounding Stuart's death.

A post mortem concluded Stuart, 31, drowned. An open verdict was recorded at an inquest into his death.

Three men, including Barrymore, remain on police bail having been arrested and questioned by police over Stuart's death. They are due to report back to police next month.

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