About Stephen Bentley

Best Selling Author

My Story

I write true crime and crime fiction. Before that in my previous lives I was a UK Detective Sergeant, pioneering undercover cop, barrister, and many other things too which you can read in my bio below.

I guess you could say I go on reinventing myself through necessity and refusal to ever quit during the stormy times.

As for my writing, I believe readers think of my books like Marmite in that they either love or hate my books.

Serendipity (one of my favourite words) dictates most readers love my books, thank goodness.


Born in Accrington, Lancashire but raised in Huyton, Liverpool from infancy. I consider myself a Scouser endorsed by a good friend’s docker father who considered me an honorary member of the ‘Brotherhood of Scousehood.’ I still love Liverpool even though I haven’t been there for a few years. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted the image of Liverpool’s Liver Buildings to the right of this text. It is displayed in full below.

I was educated at Prescot Grammar School, Merseyside, England leaving school at 17 years, and returned to education in 1993 at the now London Metropolitan University and was awarded a law degree LLB (2:1 Honours).

My police service was in both the Lancashire and Hampshire forces from 1966 to 1980 when I resigned with the rank of Detective Sergeant.

Between 1980 and 1993, I worked in a variety of jobs as a sales manager, truck driver and instructor. While reading law full time between 1993 and 1996 I also worked as a hospital night security porter, a London motorcycle courier and chilled food delivery driver to fund my studies.

From 1996 to 1997 I qualified as a barrister at the famous Inns of Court School of Law, London. From 1997 to 2011 I practised law as a criminal barrister defending in cases of murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, firearms possession and supplying drugs including cases at the famous Old Bailey and the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).


From 2013, I travelled in South East Asia including Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Philippines. I also spent some time in Australia riding a Harley motorcycle. I have chosen to make the Philippines my permanent home with my partner, now wife and partner, Zabrina.

It was Zabrina who encouraged me to write. I did and haven’t stopped since. I am proud to say I am a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and the Society of Authors.

I have also co-authored ‘Operation George’ and write true crime in both my own name and that of David Le Courageux.

Pen Names

Besides that of David Le Courageux, I also write paranormal cozy mysteries under the name KJ Cornwall.

Publishing Contracts and TV & Film Options 

I’m not shy in mentioning that my Operation Julie memoir has been optioned for film and TV, and Penguin Random House UK (Ebury) has acquired the UK and Commonweath publication rights.


My books and I have featured in the media many times. They include articles the Daily Express, BBC News England, the Guardian. In addition I have featured on BBC Radio 4 World at One, BBC Five Live, BBC Radio Solent, Talk Radio Europe, BBC TV Wales News, BBC TV Tonight, and an interview with Jane Garvey on BBC Radio 4 Life Changing series.


Amazon Best Sellers

where has it gone


Forget Breaking Bad, this is the extraordinary story of the 1970s Welsh LSD ring that supplied the world, told by a cop in deepest cover on the case.
‘Life undercover was one great adrenaline rush fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol, hash, weed and some cocaine. I was off the leash.’

In the mid-1970s, at the age of 29, Stephen Bentley, a fresh-faced detective, turned himself into Steve Jackson, a dope-smoking, hard-drinking hippie. His time spent undercover with a gang making and distributing LSD helped bring down two criminal networks – but the operation also led to deep personal aftershocks felt long after the case closed.

Now adapted and in development as an 8-part TV drama series.

‘Undercover Operation Julie – The Inside Story, ‘ documents everyday life of undercover work as the author, Stephen Bentley, won the confidence of the gang members. Bentley tells in his book how he built a “perfect” relationship with Smiles, an important gang member. But this friendship almost undermined the whole operation.

BBC News England, October 2, 2016.

‘The fascinating and extraordinary inside story from the man who was actually there.

Rob Gittins, Screenwriter and Novelist, Writer of 'Julie' BBC Drama

Operation George

Operation George

Meet the real Line of Duty ™ undercover team in this previously untold and gripping story of how a Northern Irish terrorist and murderer and one of his followers, were caught in an audacious and brilliantly executed undercover sting on the English mainland, codenamed, Operation George.

In 2006 at Belfast Crown Court, William James Fulton, a principal in the outlawed Loyalist Volunteer Force, was jailed for life and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years after the longest trial in Northern Ireland’s legal history.

Fulton was an early suspect in the Rosemary Nelson killing. Following the murder of the prominent human rights lawyer, he fled to the United States and, with help from the FBI in collusion with the British police, he was deported. On his arrival at Heathrow, Fulton ‘walked through an open door,’ a Lewis Carrol-like euphemism for an invitation created by the covert team, only to disappear ‘down the rabbit hole’ on accepting the invitation.

That ‘rabbit hole’ led to an alternative world: an environment created and controlled by the elite covert team and only inhabited by the undercover officers and their targets. The subterfuge encouraged the terrorist targets into believing Fulton was working for a Plymouth-based ‘criminal firm’ over a period spanning almost two years. In that time, over fifty thousand hours of conversations between the ‘firm’ members were secretly recorded and used to bring the killer to justice.

Operation George is brilliant! It’s a unique insight into the undercover world, the ingenious tactics, the outwardly serene UCOs and the fastidious adherence to rules and training are nothing like I’ve ever read before…’

Graham Bartlett, former UK senior police officer and co-author with international best seller, Peter James, of a Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling non-fiction book, Death Comes Knocking – Policing Roy Grace’s Brighton.


my recommended reading list

Undercover Customer Reviews


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