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  Mother Saved From Jail After Yard Exposes Cocaine Plot - Daily Express December 15, 2000
  Police saved a young nursery teacher from five years jail

Police 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 son.

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.