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Dave says it was just a wicked plot - Kentish Times December 21,
of the most complex and colourful Old Bailey cases for years
the relative safety of his Drum, 'Dodgy' Dave Courtney celebrated
his innocence with his girlfriend Jennifer Pinto and explained
how he became a central character in one of the most complex
and colourful Old Bailey cases for years.
The man whose criminal reputation inspired the blockbuster
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels has made an ordinary house
in Plumstead into his personal Camelot Castle, an extraordinary
creation of unusual art depicting him as the hero of the hour.
And when the Kentish Times interviewed him at the heart of
his self-made kingdom, he played the role of wronged crusader
The Old Bailey had been told that dear old Dave was a 'grass'
- a police informant, who had been involved in a polt to plant
drugs on a woman so that her estranged husband could have
custody of their child.
At the heart of the case was Bexley Heath Constable Austin
Warnes, 47, who was jailed for four years after admitting
perverting the course of justice.
Warnes had conspired with Surrey private eye Jonathon Rees
45, to plant 15 grames of Cocaine in the car of former model
Kim James, 29, on behalf of her husband Simon James. Rees
and Simon James.
Rees and Simon James were jailed for six years each after
being found guilty by the jury.
But there was a loud cheer from the public gallery when the
jury of seven men and five women acquitted 41 year old Mr
Courtney of any invlovement and he went home to Plumstead
without another stain on his considerably stained character.
The gangster-turned-author, who wrote the best seller Stop
the Ride I want to get off, and handled Ronnie Kray's funeral
arrangements in 1995, had gone to court dressed as a court
jester because he felt the case against him was a judicial
Back at Camelot Castle, he was the proverbial black cat with
the cream. His mind was buzzing with stories, as you would
expect from a man who says he is off to shoot a movie with
Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino next month.
"It only took the jury four minutes to find me not guilty
of perverting the course of justice." He smiled, relaxing
in the smoke from his unloaded Havana cigar.
"The police thought they were going to expose me as a grass.
They knew I had nothing to do with the case with the girl.
"They wanted to fit me up as a grass so in my world that means
I would get shot.
"I didn't jump up and down with delight when I was given
the 'not guilty' verdict vecause I knew, one I didn't have
anything to do with the case and, secondly, I knew I wasn't
In other words, he was being dreadfully miscast in a script
not of his making.
Warming to his theme, Dave added: "There were two cases going
on for me. The one in front of the jury but more importantly
the one going on in the public gallery with my friends."
Glancing briefly at a wonderfully entertaining mural of him
on a horse with his partner Jennifer playing the recused damsel,
he explained: "By branding me a grass, the police thought
the mud would stick.
"I was told by a serving officer that the police didnŐt want
me put in prison because I would become a martyr - another
one everyone would be campaigning to free.
"But they did something worse. They tried to get me shot by
naming me as an informer."
As for Warnes, the disgraced detective, Dave has little of
his precious time.
"I knew he didn't like me and he knew I didnŐt like him."
He said. "He didn't like me being popular."
So how does he feel about the boys in blue, now that the case
is behind him?
"I am not a police hater," he adds seriously. "I honestly
think the Met is the best police force in the world but it
"The more people you employ, the less you control. The Met
have now relaxed rules about the height and made the intelligence
test easier because they need police so people are being nicked
by divvy midgets."
It was the sort of gag that would probably have ended up on
the cutting room floor but Dave had plenty more up his beautifully
tailored sleeves. "Until I went to court I had never clapped
eyes on any of those people apart from Austin Warnes.
" Since he has turned into something of a legend, Dave says
he no longer breaks the law.
He adds: "I am no longer involved in crime, although I do
associate in the criminal underwolrd and in that world all
you have is your reputation."
Quite so, Dave.