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Stephen Lawrence murder suspect jailed for nine years

JAILED: Jamie Acourt (Image: Metropolitan Police)

A MAN who was a suspect in the Stephen Lawrence racist murder case has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Jamie Acourt, of no fixed abode, was charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis resin.

The 42-year-old changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on the second day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court.

Acourt was identified by detectives as central to a conspiracy to supply drugs.

The network of criminals that Acourt was a member of has been described as “highly-organised” by the Met police. The gang transported cannabis by road and supplied the Class B drug to dealers in Eltham, south-east London using people they trusted well and relatives.

Acourt initially evaded detectives by fleeing the country but he was later tracked down in Barcelona in May, where he was arrested by Spanish authorities on a European Arrest Warrant and brought back to the UK to stand trial.

Steve Reynolds, the National Crime Agency’s regional head of international operations, said: “Jamie Acourt was tracked down to Barcelona following an intensive intelligence-led search operation involving the NCA, Metropolitan Police and our law enforcement partners in Spain. I’m delighted that today he has been brought to justice.

“His conviction and sentencing sends out a message that we are relentless in our pursuit of wanted fugitives, we have the international reach to track you down, and no matter where you go you will never be able to stop looking over your shoulder.”

Detective chief inspector Mark Bedford of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said: "Today’s conviction is the culmination of several years’ of complex investigation by Met detectives. Diligent policing work has enabled the team to build a case which has disbanded a drugs network valued around £4 million. Their tenacity has ensured that six members of the drugs network have now faced justice.

“The support provided to our officers by the NCA and the Spanish authorities was invaluable in locating Acourt and extraditing him to the UK and is a great demonstration of how we work with our international partners across international borders to fight crime.”

Acourt’s prison sentence comes 25 years after he was arrested as a suspect in the Stephen Lawrence murder case.

He has always denied being involved in the teenager’s murder.

Acourt’s brother, Neil, another of the Lawrence murder suspects, was sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement in the same drugs network in 2017.

Two men, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were convicted of Lawrence’s murder and jailed for life in 2012.

Acourt’s sentencing means that only one of the men suspected of murdering Lawrence is not behind bars.

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