CELEBRITY hardman Dave Courtney suffered horrific injuries after gangland hitmen forced his car off the road, The People can reveal.

Courtney - who inspired Vinnie Jones's character in the hit film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels - was left for dead as his Range Rover somersaulted off a dual carriageway at 70mph.

Speaking with great difficulty from his hospital bed last night, Courtney said: "They were out to kill me.

"The whole thing is a blur. The pain is awful but I'm just grateful to still be alive. And I'm convinced somebody, somewhere wants me dead."

The 43-year-old former villain turned actor suffered a broken pelvis, punctured lung, four broken ribs, a broken foot and bruised kidneys after his car was "bumped" off the A2 in south-east London.

He was driving home to Plumstead in a £20,000 Range Rover belonging to his best pal Brendan McGirr.

McGirr told The People. "Dave is in a bad, bad way. He looked a total mess after I first saw him in hospital.

"But he is very tough and it'll take more than this to get rid of him. Even though he's in a lot of pain and having to be sedated, he'll not let this beat him." The Range Rover hit a crash barrier, broke a lamp-post, and rolled down a bank.

McGirr added: "Dave was thrown out of a window before the car finally came to a stop.

"If this was just an accident, why didn't the other driver stop?

"We believe he was left for dead by someone who had a grudge against him and was trying to shut him up."Courtney, who organised security at gangster Ronnie Kray's funeral in 1995, said that a car "came out of nowhere" beside him.

His anxious wife Jennifer, 30, rushed to his hospital bedside in Dartford, Kent, after the crash last Sunday.

She said: "I am just grateful he made it out of the wreckage alive and is going to make a full recovery."

Police confirmed the crash but wouldn't comment on whether it was a gangland hit.