Jamie Acourt: ‘Most wanted’ man arrested in Barcelona

Jamie Acourt, while in police custody in SpainImage copyright NCA
Image caption Jamie Acourt, pictured in police custody in Spain, faces an extradition hearing

One of Britain’s most wanted fugitives, Jamie Acourt, has been captured in Spain on suspicion of drug offences.

Armed officers detained Mr Acourt after he left the Metropolitan Sagrada Familia Gym in Barcelona on Friday afternoon.

The 41-year-old from south London is wanted by police investigating the large-scale supply of drugs.

A former suspect in Stephen Lawrence’s murder in 1993, he has always denied any involvement in the killing.

He was arrested as part of operation Captura, a joint effort by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Metropolitan Police and Spanish National Police.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Jamie Acourt at the 1998 public inquiry into the killing of Stephen Lawrence

A spokesman for the Met said: “The EAW (European Arrest Warrant) was issued as part of the Met’s efforts to trace Acourt in relation to an investigation into the unlawful supply of controlled substances.

“This relates to an investigation launched in 2016 by detectives from the Serious and Organised Crime Command.

“Extradition proceedings now await.”

Steve Reynolds, the NCA’s regional head of international operations, told Radio 4’s Today Programme that many fugitives “believe they can hide in plain sight” among Spain’s large British community.

Mr Reynolds said Mr Acourt’s extradition is likely to take “days or weeks rather than months”.

Mr Acourt will appear at court in Madrid early next week for an extradition hearing.

He was last seen in the UK on 1 February 2016, in the Eltham area.

Prior to his move to Spain he was known to visit south-west London and areas of Surrey.

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