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Inside Dave Courtney’s East London ‘Camelot Castle’: The Notorious hardman’s house where he died today is decorated with guns, swords and suits of armour – and even has its own nightclub


Some say crime doesn’t pay, but looking inside the sprawling mansion of the late gangster Dave Courtney tells a different story.

The East End hardman turned actor sadly passed away at his London home after shooting himself dead.

He was seen yesterday watching his beloved Charlton Athletic just hours before his death and spent a ‘cool day’ with a ‘full works’ three-course meal at The Valley.

According to his neighbour Sheila Wellcome, he was suffering from arthritis and could barely roll a cigarette.

He was one of Britain’s best-known gangsters and made a name for himself through his affiliation with famous London East End hardmen such as the Krays, Roy Shaw and Lenny McLean.

A lot of the weapons around the mansion were actually replicas as Courtney was said to have lived with his best friend who is a film producer

A lot of the weapons around the mansion were actually replicas as Courtney was said to have lived with his best friend who is a film producer

Pictured, the notorious gangster outside his 'Camelot Castle' mansion in South East London

Pictured, the notorious gangster outside his ‘Camelot Castle’ mansion in South East London

He claimed to have swapped his life of crime to become a recognised author and celebrity.

Courtney, 64, lived in a home dubbed ‘Camelot Castle’ in a quiet South East London street.

It was a former school turned mansion and was decorated with golden lions and Union Jacks.

There was also a statue of a sniper peering over the wall, a replica of King Arthur’s Sword in the Stone and a bust of his own head.

Also, there was a blue plaque that read: ‘David J Courtney born 17.2.1959 amusing raconteur, prolific author and infamous f***er resides here.’

Dave Courtney at the Old Bailey after he was on trial for perverting the course of justice by allegedly planting drugs on an innocent woman

Dave Courtney at the Old Bailey after he was on trial for perverting the course of justice by allegedly planting drugs on an innocent woman

Courtney was renowned for his use of knuckle-dusters and was said to be a big player in the gangland scene

Courtney was renowned for his use of knuckle-dusters and was said to be a big player in the gangland scene

Pictured, Courtney pictured in his pool room with guns on the wall and a huge portrait of himself in the background

Pictured, Courtney pictured in his pool room with guns on the wall and a huge portrait of himself in the background

Walking around the ‘castle’ you would also see a mural which shows Dave sitting on a throne in the form of a knuckle duster.

Around him are Lenny McLean, Freddie Foreman, the Krays, Howard Marks, Al Capone, and Al Pacino.

Somewhat of a narcissist, in the front room hangs a painting of Dave with a halo and angel wings.

Courtney also claimed the painter filled half a pot of paint with his blood so that ‘the skin is Dave Courtney’s DNA’.

As well as these impressive works of art, the castle was decorated with guns, knives and swords.

But the weapons were fake as he lived with his best friend Brendan who owns a film company.

In fact, Courtney is said to have been the inspiration for Vinne Jones’ character in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The dining room is full of shelves of books and a bust of Beethoven.

Also, he had an entire suit of armour as well as other military helmets.

The kitchen, surprisingly, was purely functional and had no memorabilia.

Outside was a BBQ area as well as a hot tub. He also had a cinema room that doubled up as a nightclub and a ‘dungeon’ where adult films were made.

But he claimed he was tight with his community and gave up his gangster life to do charity work for children with autism and ADHD.

Courtney shows off a knuckle-duster in 2001 at the Manhattan Cafe in Woolwich, south east London, the venue for a reception after the marriage of Saira Rehman to Britain's most dangerous inmate Charles Bronson, at Milton Keynes Prison

Courtney shows off a knuckle-duster in 2001 at the Manhattan Cafe in Woolwich, south east London, the venue for a reception after the marriage of Saira Rehman to Britain’s most dangerous inmate Charles Bronson, at Milton Keynes Prison

Born in Bermondsey, south London, Courtney became infamous as a knuckle-duster wielding debt collector

Born in Bermondsey, south London, Courtney became infamous as a knuckle-duster wielding debt collector

Courtney attends the funeral of criminal Bruce Richard Reynolds - the mastermind behind the 1963 Great Train Robbery - in March 2013

Courtney attends the funeral of criminal Bruce Richard Reynolds – the mastermind behind the 1963 Great Train Robbery – in March 2013 

Also, he drove to Ukraine several times to bring medical supplies and food.

Speaking to MyLondon last year, he said he was proud of how far he had come.

‘I’m a lucky man,’ he said, ‘If I was to die tomorrow I would die smiling. I’ve got beautiful friends. Had far too many beautiful ladies in my life.

‘Getting here was hard but now it’s easy. It’s nice to be nice.’

The Metropolitan Police said officers attended a property on Chestnut Rise, in Plumstead, south-east London. The man was pronounced dead at the scene and his death is being treated as unexpected and is under investigation. No arrests have been made and his family have been informed, the force said.

Born in Bermondsey, south London, Courtney became infamous as a knuckle-duster-wielding debt collector, previously claiming to have been shot, stabbed and had his nose almost bitten off – before they sewed it back on.

Courtney (pictured third from the right) attends Ronnie Kray's funeral in 1995

Courtney (pictured third from the right) attends Ronnie Kray’s funeral in 1995 

Courtney was said to have been the inspiration for Vinnie Jones' character on Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. (Pictured, Vinne Jones on the set of Lockstock, 1997)

Courtney was said to have been the inspiration for Vinnie Jones’ character on Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. (Pictured, Vinne Jones on the set of Lockstock, 1997)

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to a property on Chestnut Rise, in Plumstead, south-east London, this morning following reports of a man found dead

The Metropolitan Police said they were called to a property on Chestnut Rise, in Plumstead, south-east London, this morning following reports of a man found dead

He claimed to have been found not guilty in 19 separate trials but in January 2009 he was given an 18-month conditional discharge at Bristol Crown Court, on a charge of possessing live ammunition.

In 2004 he was cleared of attacking his wife Jennifer Pinto over an alleged lesbian affair. Four years earlier, he walked free from the Old Bailey after he was cleared of being part of a plot to plant cocaine on an innocent woman.

During the trial he was named as a registered police informant using the alias ‘Tommy Mack’. But Courtney insisted he simply took advantage of the system to disguise a relationship with a corrupt detective.

‘I have never been a grass,’ he said. He is also known to have spent time in Belmarsh prison.

In recent times he became somewhat of a celebrity figure, making a living from appearances in numerous television documentaries and a number of low-budget British gangster films. He also starred in, directed and produced his own film, Hell To Pay.

He went on to feature in films such as Six Bend Trapp, Clubbing to Death and The Dead Sleep Easy.

Courtney published six books – including titles such as Dodgy Dave’s Little Black Book – and recorded a version of ‘I Fought The Law’ with Scottish pop-punks Mute.

He referred to himself as Dave Courtney OBE – ‘One Big Ego’ – and has a painted depiction of himself as a knight in his south London house.



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