Inside Dave Courtney’s friendships with the Krays and Lenny McLean as gangster boasted he had ‘scariest phone book’ | The Sun

EX-CRIME boss Dave Courtney had a mural of his favourite gangsters at his home in Camelot Castle and boasted he had the "scariest phone book".

The East End gangster, 64, was tragically discovered dead in his £650,000 end of ­terrace house in Plumstead yesterday.

A lodger discovered the former TV actor and showman dead at home.

Self-proclaimed former gangster Courtney had swapped his life of crime to become a recognised author and celebrity, leaving behind a legacy.

And his lavish home boasted huge murals including him wearing armour, sitting astride a war horse and on a throne shaped like a knuckleduster.

The prominent knuckleduster piece sees the gangster sitting on the throne with a number of famous faces around him.

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Courtney's mural shows Lenny McLean, Freddie Foreman, the Krays, Howard Marks, Al Capone, and Al Pacino.

The notorious hardman claimed to have links with a number of gangland legends such as Reggie Kray, Roy Shaw and Lenny McLean.

He was only nine when the Krays were jailed, but claims to have arranged security for Ronnie Kray's funeral in 1995.

Courtney was also seen at Charlie Kray's funeral, the elder brother of the twins.

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He claimed to be good "friends" with the Krays, among others.

Dave said: "I was never as bad as it was portrayed.

"I was good friends with Krays. I had a thousand doormen working for me at one time – an army.

"I took credit and blame for what they did. It's nothing to do with you but I was in charge."

And he said that McLean and Shaw were "born to fight" when reminiscing about a boxing match the pair had.

He added: "Their boxing was brought into the public eye. They were individual stars in the criminal fraternity.

"It was as entertaining as Rooney and Beckham having a one vs one.

"They both had a huge following, thousands of people supported them."

Courtney said that on one occasion he was stunned how Shaw managed to take over 30 punches from McLean.

However, when asked about which of the notorious pair was tougher, Courtney said he would have to "sit on the fence".

Courtney was previously better known as “the yellow pages of the Underworld” thanks to his infamous phone book.

And when previously opening up about his criminal past, the gangster said that his phone book is "scary".

But, he said when it comes to the stories he's said he's been involved with, "not all of it is true".

Others also referenced the infamous "phone book" while paying tribute to the reformed hardman.

Market trader pal Chris Collins, 52, laid flowers at the scene.

He said: “The world is a worse place today having lost Dave.

“He had the scariest phone book this side of the moon, let me tell you — but he was an absolute ­gentleman. He didn’t want to miss out on a minute of life. He was frightened of missing out.”

However, Essex Boys associate Bernard O’Mahoney and Frankie Fraser, a former member of the feared Richardson gang of the 1960s, accused Courtney of fabricating and embellishing his past.

Courtney was married to ­Jennifer Lucrea Pinto, who he met while she was working at a nightclub.

But their relationship hit the rocks in 2004, when Courtney was accused of beating her during a row over her then lesbian lover. He was cleared of all charges.

Courtney served a prison ­sentence in tough Belmarsh nick, but in 2009 avoided jail time after being charged with two firearm offences.

In 2017 he suffered a minor heart attack which he vowed wouldn't be the end of him.

He had also claimed to have been shot, stabbed and had his nose bitten off, during a life of crime and violence, reports the Sunday Mirror.

The day before he died he went with pals to watch Charlton ­Athletic thump Reading 4-0 in a League One match.

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Friends said Courtney had ­suffered money troubles, ill health, and family rows in recent months.

A statement from the family said: “Dave tragically took his own life in the early hours with a firearm at his Camelot Castle home in Plumstead. Details about funeral arrangements will be provided in due course.”

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