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News of the World November 24, 2001
Dave Courtney revels what made him become a reformed character.
they left a South London pub, East End villain Dave Courtney
and his pals were about to have their chat cut tragically
And for Dave, best known for organising the security at gangster
Ronnie Kray's funeral in 1995, it meant leaving his old life
"We had our backs to the Old Kent Road and a car pulled up
behind us and a man got out", recalls Dave, the inspiration
for Vinnie Jones's debt collecting hard man in the movie Lock,
Stock And Two Smoking Barrels.
"He put a gun to the base of my mate's spine and shot him.
It made me instantly realise it doesn't matter who, what,
or how big you are, somebody can come along and wipe you out.
It frightened me and is the driving force behind me going
straight" Dave's new life is profiled in ITV's Celebrity Villain:
Real life, a fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the first 18 months
of his second career.
Dave, 42, grew up with all the hallmarks of a Villain - a
history of breaking into factories, stealing cars and fighting
at football games. He soon put his talents to work as a debt
collector and gang boss and at one stage had more than 500
bouncers working for him.
Although he has beaten murder charges, Dave admits to having
killed people, and was sent to prison in the early Eighties
following a knife fight with five other men.
Home for Dave is the South London mansion he shares with his
partner Jenny. They met 13 years ago when she already had
two children and they now have a daughter together. "If he
was bad for my kids, I promise you he wouldnÕt be there,"
"Now that Dave's decided to go straight, and the worry's not
there any more, I'm much happier".
Despite his attempts to "Go Straight", including penning three
books and starring in a film DaveÕs past caught up with him
in 1999 when he was arrested for conspiracy to prevent the
course of justice.
Dave had been named by a CORRUPT POLICEMAN as the main informer
in the conspiracy case, involving a husband who had tried
to frame his estranged wife for drug dealing.
But thanks to police internal affairs already keeping tabs
on the cop, Dave neednÕt have worried. He was cleared of the
charge and was quick to make sure everyone knew that he was
And who would dare suggest otherwise.