London Defender

The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

Stephen Lawrence racist murder suspect Jamie Acourt to be freed ‘within weeks’

A suspect in the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence will be freed from prison in weeks despite failing to pay back any of the £90,000 he made from a £3million drugs plot. Jamie Acourt, 46, who spent more than two years on the run in Spain under the alias Simon Alfonzo, is due to be released on November 3 after serving half of a nine-year sentence for the drugs offence.

He told a judge he has been offered a job with construction firm Precision Contractors, run by his “friend and builder” Matthew Chapman, and will be supported on the outside by partner Terri Dean.

Acourt, who has two children aged 23 and 19, was one of five men arrested over the murder of Mr Lawrence, who was stabbed to death in Eltham, south-east London on April 22, 1993.

Two of the five, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were prosecuted and handed life sentences in 2012 after being found guilty of murdering the 18-year-old.

Norris was referred to the police for investigation last week after allegedly taking selfies in his cell at HMP Dartmoor and sending them to friends.

He continued: “Once I’m out and worked out what I can pay – £50 a month, £100 a month, whatever I have got left after all the outgoings.”

The judge agreed Acourt should be released from prison, but ordered him to pay back £500 a month or face the reactivation of his jail sentence, saying the sums he suggested would not even cover the interest of £20 a day.

Judge Minhas said: “I am not going to activate the default sentence.

“I can see before me you have a job offer supported by an email from the managing director of that company. You will be earning a decent salary. It is not minimum wage.

“You have a partner who has confirmed she will contribute towards the amount which is outstanding, which is a significant amount.

“I am going to give you the opportunity to come out into the community and pay that. If you do not pay, the consequences are you will be serving that term.

“If you choose to leave the country and not pay, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you will serve that sentence when you come back to the country.”

She said Acourt has until January 1 to make the first payment.

The fifth suspect in Mr Lawrence’s murder, Luke Knight, has remained free.