Dave Courtney, Ex-Gangster Turned Author, Found with Gunshot Wound: Coroner Report
Dave Courtney, Ex-Gangster T...
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Dave Courtney, Ex-Gangster Turned Author, Found with Gunshot Wound: Coroner Report

22 November 2023
2 min.
Dave Courtney, Ex-Gangster Turned Author, Found with Gunshot Wound: Coroner Report

Crime, Casing, and Closure

Dave Courtney, linked to the 1960s gangland and the Kray twins, was found shot in his south-east London home on October 22. The preliminary post-mortem, citing a gunshot wound to the head, was reported by Dr. Julian Morris at Southwark Coroner’s Court.

Having transitioned from a life of crime to becoming an author in his later years, the 64-year-old Courtney was found dead at his residence on Chestnut Rise, Plumstead.

Witness Testimonies

Detective Sergeant James Robinson, attached to Lewisham Police Station, shared insights from friends who were with Courtney the day before his death. Both friends reported spending a cheerful evening with Courtney after watching a football match. They left around 10 pm, with one friend waking up at 3:30 am to hear Courtney on the phone in his bedroom.

The next morning, the friend found Courtney slumped on his bed, prompting them to alert family members before contacting the police. Although the initial response deemed the circumstances "not suspicious but unexplained," concern arose over a "spent shell casing," leading to an investigation.

Weapons and Videos

A search of Courtney's property uncovered firearms, attributed to his involvement in making gangster movies. Police found a spent casing in his bedroom along with several other firearms. Notably, eight videos, recorded in the early hours of October 22, were discovered on Courtney's phone, each appearing to say goodbye to different family members.


The court also learned about a video recorded in July in which Courtney hinted at a suicide attempt, citing a recent cancer diagnosis and the pain from arthritis. His family acknowledged the challenges he faced due to his chosen lifestyle and health issues.

Conclusion and Inquest

The circumstances surrounding Courtney’s death prompted the coroner to consider an inquest, pending the completion of police investigations.

Family Tribute

In a statement, Courtney's family paid tribute to his "incredible, colourful, rock ‘n’ roll life" and cited the physical toll of cancer and arthritis as contributing factors to his decision to end his life.


Renowned for inspiring Vinnie Jones’s character in Guy Ritchie’s film Lock, Stock, And Two Smoking Barrels, Courtney published six books and starred in the film Hell To Pay after leaving his criminal past behind.

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