Obituary – Dave Courtney – Gangster turned Actor and Author
The family of ex-gangster Dave Courtney has paid tribute to his “incredible, colourful, rock ‘n’ roll life” after the 64-year-old was found dead at his home in south-east London.
Courtney, who claimed to be an associate of 1960s gangland criminals the Kray twins, swapped an earlier life of crime for writing books in his later years.
He was found at his home in Chestnut Rise, Plumstead, on Sunday 22nd October 2023.
- Died: October 22nd 2023
- Details of death: Committed suicide to avoid becoming a burden to his loved ones as a result of his deteriorating health.
Courtney was an author, having had six books published: Stop the Ride I Want to Get Off, Raving Lunacy, Dodgy Dave’s Little Black Book, The Ride’s Back On, F**k the Ride, and Heroes & Villains.
Courtney starred in and produced his own film, Hell to Pay (2005), and took on the leading role of Mad Dave opposite Manish Patel in the low-budget British film Triads, Yardies and Onion Bhajees (2003).
Largely making a living from television documentaries and personal appearances, Courtney ran his own website, was involved in charity work and worked on the films Six Bend Trap and Clubbing to Death alongside Craig Charles and Nick Moran. Courtney was featured in the 2008 film The Dead Sleep Easy, filmed on location in Mexico.
Courtney worked with Director Liam Galvin on 2 DVDs – Dave Courtney’s Dodgy DVD and Dave Courtney Even Dodgier – both released by Gangster Videos. He collaborated again with Liam Galvin on the 2010 film Killer Bitch and the 2016 film Mob Handed.
Courtney appeared in the film Mother’s Child (2020), as club owner Mr Townsend alongside Alex Reid. It was released worldwide on Amazon Prime, DVD, and Blu-ray.
In November 2000, Courtney walked free from the Old Bailey after he was cleared of being part of a plot to plant cocaine on an innocent woman. During the trial, he was named as a registered police informant using the alias “Tommy Mac”. Courtney alleged that the police lied about his involvement with them as an informant and subsequently took legal proceedings against the police the next week where is was found that the office who had supposedly hired Courtney as an informant was corrupt and had a history of working with gangsters – including Courtney over a period of 15 years which involved recruiting fake informants, obtaining information from the police computer and sabotaging numerous court cases – and regularly stole drugs from raids to feed his own drug habits.
At the time of the November 2000 case, Courtney had made 10 court appearances in the past 15 years and had received 10 not guilty verdicts in a row. “I have always had faith in the British Justice system,” he said outside the court. “That not guilty verdict was both for the charge I faced and the accusation that I was a grass. I have never been an informer.”
In January 2009 he was given an 18-month conditional discharge at Bristol Crown Court, on a charge of possessing live ammunition without a firearms certificate. His defence of not knowing that the single live pistol round was live rather than a stage prop prompted Judge Ticehurst to comment, “It perhaps undermines your street credibility and your stage performance that you cannot distinguish between a real round and a fake round. But perhaps that’s not for me to say.”
In May 2009, Courtney filed for bankruptcy, reportedly owing £400,000 to creditors, including taxes of £250,000.
On 29 July 2009, he was arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, specifically a Brocock Air Cartridge pistol, and possession of a firearm whilst being a prohibited person. He was sent in custody to Woolwich Crown Court for trial. The Brocock pistol was previously legal as an air-weapon (and would then have been legal for Courtney to possess) but police concerns over the “ease” with which they can be converted into cartridge-firing firearms led to a ban on this specific design. Courtney was on remand in HMP Belmarsh, concerning the aforementioned firearms offences. On 10 December 2009, Courtney was cleared after the jury took two hours to find him not guilty on all charges.
Personal Life & Death
Courtney was born in Bermondsey, London. He went to Adamsrill primary school in Sydenham, South East London.
Courtney often focused on his links with gangsters such as Reggie Kray and Lenny McLean, although he was nine years old when Kray was imprisoned. Courtney has claimed to have been shot, stabbed, had his nose bitten off, and stated that he has had to kill to stay alive. He made the claim that his involvement in a car crash on the M20 was an attempt by “someone who had a grudge against him” to kill him.
Courtney often referred to himself as Dave Courtney OBE, the suffix standing for One Big Ego. His house in Plumstead, called Camelot Castle, was decorated with Union Jack flags and the cross of St George, a painted depiction of himself as a knight and a large knuckle duster.
Courtney claimed to have been involved in debt-collecting, minding clubs, assault, contraband, and murder. He also claimed he has spent time in Belmarsh Prison as a high security prisoner, which has been backed up by ex-prison guard Jim Dawkins in his book The Loose Screw.
In his book F**k the Ride, Courtney claims to have been found not guilty in 19 separate trials.
On 22 October 2023, Courtney was found dead at his home Chestnut Rise, Plumstead, having shot himself. He was 64.
Since his death, his family have released a self-filmed clip where Courtney explains why he has decided to take his own life.
Date of birth: 17th February 1959
Date of Death: 22nd October 2023 (aged 64)
Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Courtney