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Saved From Jail After Yard Exposes Cocaine Plot
- Daily Express December 15, 2000
saved a young nursery teacher from five years jail
saved a young nursery teacher from five years jail after uncovering
a plot by a bent officer, a crooked private eye and a rich
jeweller to plant drugs on her. Ex-model Kim James was falsely
accused of being a drug dealer after her estranged husband
paid for 15 wraps of cocaine to be placed in her car in a
wicked plan to get custody of their two-and-a half-year-old
But the plot was discovered by Scotland YardŐs anti-corruption
task force after they bugged the officers of the private eye
and secretly watched as the cocaine was planted in Mrs James
Fiat. Senior officers had to allow the innocent wife to be
arrested and accused of being a drug peddler to guarantee
they had all the evidence to nail the plotters.
Last night Mrs James, 28, praised the Yard as her ex-husband
jeweller Simon James, detective Austin Warnes and crooked
private investigator Jon Rees were facing long jail sentences.
One of the characters in the murky plot which unfolded at
the Old Bailey was shaven-headed gangster Dave Courtney, a
friend of the Kray Twins, who was said in court to be a registered
police informant known by the name "Tommy Mack".
Yesterday Courtney, 41, saluted the jury as he was acquitted
of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Cleared of
murder and drug dealing in the past, he feared for his life
after the informant allegation was exposed in public. The
gangster said his official status, as a "grass" was simply
a way of disguising his corrupt relationship with Warnes.
Courtney was still under investigation last night over crooked
deals with Warnes and other officers.
He left court smoking a large cigar and went to a nearby pub
to celebrate. Embracing his wife Jennifer Pinto, he said "I
always had faith in the British justice system. That not guilty
verdict was both for the charge I faced and the accusation
I was a grass. I have never been an informer.
Courtney spent the early part of his career as a debt collector
and gangland enforcer. His fearsome reputation provided the
model for the Vinne Jones character in Lock, Stock and Two
Smoking Barrels. The jury found Rees, 46, of Thornton Heath,
and James, 34, of Battersea, South London, guilty of conspiracy
to pervert the course of justice. They cleared James Cook,
45, of the same charge. Det Constable Warnes, based at Bexleyheath
police station admitted his part in the plot and is due to
be sentenced with Rees and James this afternoon.
The drama began in 1998 when anti-corruption officers bugged
ReesŐ offices in Thornton Heath. The squad were convinced
he was involved in corrupt deals with serving police officers.
Rees, once charged with the murder of ex-partner Danny Morgan,
met James in his office to discuss getting custody of his
son. During recorded conversations, Kim James, once dated
by soccer star Stan Collymore, was described as a drug dealer,
a loose woman and unfit mother.
In fact she is a hard-working mother working as an aerobics
and nursery teacher who has no blemish on her character. Police
found no evidence she was involver in drugs. James paid Rees
up to Ł8000 to plant the drugs. Shortly before, Warnes rang
colleagues at Wimbledon police station and falsely accused
Mrs James of being a drug dealer.
It was alleged Courtney later verified the mis-information
and said it came from him. Police watched as drugs were placed
in Mrs James car. She was arrested and bailed on suspicion
of being a dealer.
But five weeks later, detectives were able to reveal the shocking
truth about the plot to frame her.