Jamie Acourt: Lawrence murder suspect admits cannabis charge

image copyrightMet Police
image captionJamie Acourt was never convicted of any offence relating to Stephen Lawrence's death

A suspect in the 1993 racist murder of Stephen Lawrence has pleaded guilty to conspiring to supply "huge quantities" of cannabis resin.

Jamie Acourt, 42, had previously denied the charge but changed his plea on the second day of his trial at Kingston Crown Court.

Acourt, originally from Eltham, south-east London, was extradited from Spain where he was living until his arrest in May.

He is due to be sentenced on Friday.

Acourt was never convicted of the racist attack on Mr Lawrence and has always denied any involvement.

Jurors had been told of the allegation against him and warned they should consider him solely on the trial's evidence.

image copyrightPA
image captionAcourt was arrested by armed officers as he left a gym in Barcelona on 4 May

The basis of his plea was that it was agreed with the prosecution he was involved in the conspiracy to supply between 1 January 2014 and 2 May 2015 only.

His 43-year-old brother Neil Acourt has already been jailed for more than six years over the drugs plot.

Prosecutors believe both were ringleaders and they enlisted family members to the scheme that saw drugs transported between London and South Shields, Tyne and Wear.

Acourt 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.

He was arrested as he left a gym in Barcelona on 4 May and extradited back to Britain.

Jailing him, judge Recorder Paul Clements said the plot would "have kept the people of the Newcastle area in spliffs for many a long day".

It involved dozens of 600-mile round trips from London to South Shields, driving drugs up and bringing back cash.

A total of seven men have now been convicted or found guilty over the conspiracy.

They include the stepfather of Acourt's partner, Lee Birks, 57, of Orpington, south-east London, and Neil Acourt's 65-year-old father-in-law Jack Vose, of Bexley, south-east London.

In 2012, Gary Dobson and David Norris were convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Mr Lawrence and jailed for life.

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