Stephen Lawrence murder suspect in court over drugs plot confiscation order

One of the suspects in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence has complained he cannot be moved to an open prison after failing to pay £90,000 he made from a £3 million drugs plot.

Jamie Acourt 45, was jailed for nine years after spending more than two years on the run, living in Spain under the alias Simon Alfonzo.

He is one of five men arrested over the murder of 18-year-old Mr Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in Eltham south-east London on April 22 1993.

Only two of the suspects, Gary Dobson and David Norris, have been brought to justice and were both handed life sentences in 2012 after being found guilty of murder at the Old Bailey.

Stephen Lawrence (Family/PA)

(PA Media)

Acourt was last January ordered to pay back £90,000 in ill-gotten gains or face another year added to his jail sentence by a judge at Kingston Crown Court.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday by video-link from Brixton prison over his failure to pay the confiscation order, which has risen to more than £95,000 with interest of £19.73 a day.

The court heard Acourt is due to be released on November 3 but he asked for his default sentence to be activated, meaning he would spend another six months behind bars.

“I’m happy to take the default sentence because I have no way of paying the money,” he said.

“In January this was given to me.

“I can’t move to an open prison or anything because of this.”

Jamie Acourt, one of the five men suspected of killing black teenager Stephen Lawrence arrives to give evidence at the public inquiry into the racist murder (Paul Treacy/Justin Williams/PA)

(PA Archive)

But District Judge Daniel Sternberg said he would not activate the sentence while Acourt was in prison and explained he had no say in the jail where he is held.

He added: “Even if you serve the default sentence that does not wipe out the debt you have to pay.

“But it is one of the tools the court has to put some pressure on you to pay.”

The judge said the case will be relisted ahead of Acourt’s release date, in October.

His brother Neil Acourt, who was also arrested over Mr Lawrence’s murder, was jailed for more than six years over the drugs plot which saw some 750kg of cannabis resin, with an estimated street value of around £3 million moved between London and South Shields, Tyne and Wear.

The fifth suspect, Luke Knight, has remained free.

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