David John Courtney was an English self-proclaimed gangster who became both an author and an actor.
Courtney was born in Bermondsey, London. He went to Adamsrill primary school in Sydenham, South East London.
Courtney often focused on his links with gangsters such as Reggie Kray and Lenny McLean, although he was nine years old when Kray was imprisoned. Courtney has claimed to have been shot, stabbed, had his nose bitten off, and stated that he has had to kill to stay alive. He made the claim that his involvement in a car crash on the M20 was an attempt by "someone who had a grudge against him" to kill him.
Courtney often referred to himself as Dave Courtney OBE, the suffix standing for One Big Ego. His house in Plumstead, called Camelot Castle, was decorated with Union Jack flags and the cross of St George, a painted depiction of himself as a knight and a large knuckle duster, alongside a band of supporting knights that included Lenny McLean, the Kray twins, Joey Pyle, Al Capone, John Gotti, Ronnie Biggs, Freddie Foreman, Roy Shaw, Howard Marks and Charlie Richardson.
Courtney claimed to have been involved in debt-collecting, minding clubs, assault, contraband, and murder. He spent time in Belmarsh Prison as a high-security prisoner, as described by ex-prison guard Jim Dawkins in his book The Loose Screw.
In his book F**k the Ride, Courtney claims to have been found not guilty in 19 separate trials.
On 22 October 2023, Courtney was found dead at his home Chestnut Rise, Plumstead, having shot himself. He was 64.