Michael Barrymore has apologised for the death of a man found floating in his swimming pool – but maintained he is "100% innocent".

In an emotional interview, the former comedian and TV presenter talked about the death of 31-year-old Stuart Lubbock, whose body was found in the swimming pool of the star’s Essex home in 2001.

Six years later, Barrymore was arrested in connection with the death.

After he was released, Barrymore, who had been one of the best known TV stars at the time of the death, withdrew from public life.

Barrymore fled his home and refused to comment during an inquest into Mr Lubbock’s death.

Speaking on Piers Morgan’s ITV programme Life Stories, Barrymore said: I had nothing to do with Stuart. I am innocent. I am not 99.9% innocent. I am 100% innocent and I am entitled to walk around with my head held high for the rest of my life.

Barrymore, 67, won compensation from Essex Police last year for wrongful arrest.

In the interview, he said he couldn’t be more sorry for his behaviour that night and explained he left his home over fears it would be surrounded by press.

Speaking of Mr Lubbock’s family, he said: That family deserves proper answers. No parent should have to bury their young.

He added: I didn’t facilitate him taking drugs. I was advised (to stay silent) by lawyers at the time. You don’t have to answer in a coroner’s court.

I can see lots of things in hindsight. I’m not making excuses. I f***ed up. I f***ed up. What more do you want? I’m sorry. I couldn’t be more sorry.

I have to live in hope that somehow, somewhere, there will be an answer. I just hope it will be within what is left of my life.

Barrymore rejected claims he had been hosting a gay orgy, pointing out: How do you have a gay orgy with four girls and five blokes, two of whom are straight?

He went on to say he had found life hard as a gay man, saying: If I had a choice I’d rather not be gay. I really would. Life would be easier.

Life can be difficult at times, especially when you are known because everyone has a potshot at you.

Mr Lubbock’s body was found after a party where drugs and alcohol were consumed.

A post-mortem revealed he had suffered serious anal injuries.

An open verdict was recorded at the inquest into his death in 2002.

In December last year, police won an appeal to pay Barrymore nominal damages only, rather than a rumoured payout of more than £2.4m. Barrymore’s lawyers claimed he was owed millions from lost earnings.

(c) Sky News 2019: Michael Barrymore ‘sorry’ for pool death – but maintains he is ‘100% innocent’