Stephen Lawrence sus­pect jailed over drugs con­spir­acy

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

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.

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