Stephen Lawrence suspect jailed over drugs conspiracy
A MAN once arrested over the murder of Stephen Lawrence has been jailed for nine years for heading a £3m drugs plot.
Jamie Acourt, 42, from Eltham, south-east London, admitted his role as a kingpin in a two-year conspiracy to sell cannabis resin, after his 43-year-old brother, Neil, was jailed for more than six years over the scheme.
Prosecutors believe both were ringleaders who enlisted family into a scheme that saw drugs moved between London and South Shields, Tyne and Wear.
Jailing him yesterday, Judge Peter Lodder QC said he had no doubt Jamie Acourt had played a leading role in the scheme, though he had withdrawn from the conspiracy following the arrest of another individual.
“I must, however, observe that the system was well established by that stage,” he added.
Both Acourts were arrested following the racist stabbing of black teenager Mr Lawrence by a gang of white men in Eltham in 1993, but have always denied involvement in the killing.
Jurors were earlier told of the historical allegation and warned they should solely consider the drug trial evidence.
Jamie Acourt, arrested in May after more than two years on the run, had been found living in Spain under the alias Simon Alfonzo. He had fled the country after police raided a home he lived in with his partner and their two children in Bexley, south-east London, in February 2016.
The court heard the dealers in the conspiracy moved more than 750kg, with the prosecution saying Jamie Acourt was involved in the supply of about 500kg with a street value of about £2.2m.
Michael Holland, defending, said this amounted to about £500,000 at wholesale.
“It’s a mitigating factor he withdrew from the conspiracy, albeit in circumstances where one of the co-conspirators has recently been arrested,” he added.
“He is a tradesman and builder and has sought contracts, some of which he has been successful in attaining. With his name it is not always easy to get the work he might otherwise get. The financial temptation must have been a real factor.”
Seven men have now been convicted or found guilty over the conspiracy, while the case against another was dismissed.
In 2012, Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Mr Lawrence and jailed for life.
Both Acourts were arrested shortly after the murder but neither was convicted.
LOCKED UP: Jamie Acourt was the kingpin in a £3m conspiracy to sell cannabis resin.