In overseas news, a story in the Mirror newspaper reported on the death of the notorious ‘East End’ gangster Dave Courtney, age 64, who was described as leading an "incredible, colorful, rock 'n' roll life" and suffering from cancer and arthritis.
Courtney, who reportedly took his own life after years of pain, left a message to the citizens of London — and anyone with access to Google Earth — on the roof of his sprawling white mansion known as “Camelot Castle.”
Given how the one-time criminal has been described, the message seems on the spot. The former gangster’s home, a one-time school, has a message outlined on its roof that asks: “What are you f*%#*n lookin’ at”?
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Courtney was famously affiliated with ‘hardmen’ Roy Shaw and Lenny McLean, identical twin brothers and gangsters operating in London’s East End from the late 1950s to 1967. He was also rumored to be the inspiration behind Vinnie Jones' character Big Chris, a thuggish debt collector in the 1998 Guy Ritchie cult film, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.”
A statement on social media said Courtney had "taken his own life with a firearm" at his home in Chestnut Rise, about 11 miles east of the City of London. His family paid tribute, saying he decided to "stop the ride,” referring to the title of his 1999 autobiography, “Stop The Ride, I Want To Get Off.”
The wiseguy gained notoriety as a debt collector who was said to sport a set of brass knuckles and claimed to have been found “not guilty” in a staggering 19 different trials, making New York mob boss John Gotti’s famous ‘Teflon Don’ moniker meek in comparison.
Throughout his eventful criminal career, Courtney claims to have been “shot, stabbed and had his nose nearly bitten off before it was sewed back on.” Yet, age has a way of mellowing even the most hardened Racketeer.
Late in life, the Mirror reported that Courtney turned to acting and assumed roles in several low-budget London gangster films, including “Six Bend Trapp,” “Clubbing to Death” and “The Dead Sleep Easy.".