Kenneth James Noye|
24 May 1947 (age 71)
Bexleyheath, Kent, England
Kenneth James Noye (born 24 May 1947) is an English criminal who is serving a life sentence for murdering Stephen Cameron in a road rage incident while on licence from prison in 1996. He was convicted of the crime four years later.
Following an acquittal in 1985 for the murder of a police officer at the grounds of his home, Noye had been convicted in 1986 of handling stolen goods from the Brink's-Mat robbery, serving eight years in prison of a 14-year sentence.
Noye was born in Bexleyheath, Kent, where his father ran a post office and his mother a dog racing track. His dishonesty began at a young age. At five, his mother caught him taking money from the till in a branch of Woolworths while she had been talking to a shop assistant. A bully while a pupil at Bexleyheath Boys' Secondary Modern School, he ran a protection racket with his fellow pupils. He left school at 15. For selling stolen bicycles after he had altered their appearance, and other crimes, he spent a year in a borstal. At this point he met a barrister's legal secretary who would later become his wife.
Criminal activities before 1996
A police informer for many years, Noye had begun a connection with corrupt officers by the time he was arrested for receiving stolen goods in 1977. He became a Freemason in January 1980, becoming a member of the Hammersmith Lodge in London after being proposed for admission by two police officers, giving his occupation as "Builder". He held no offices in the Lodge. Several sources cite that he became the Master of the Lodge.
The membership of the Lodge contained a sizeable proportion of police according to an April 2000 article in The Independent.  Noye's membership ceased in 1987 because he had failed to pay his subscriptions for two years in succession. He was subsequently expelled from the Freemasons when it was discovered that he had a criminal record, according to a letter from the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England, published by The Independent in December 1996.
One of Noye's police contacts persuaded a customs official not to target him, while his tip-offs to the Metropolitan Police's Flying Squad were reportedly a means to prevent competition from rival criminals. Meanwhile, he had built up a legitimate haulage business to use as cover. Having initially been refused planning permission for a mansion on a plot of land he owned, he was able to gain consent in a subsequent application shortly after his bungalow on the site was destroyed in a fire caused by an electrical fault.
Active as a fence, Noye was among those involved in laundering a huge quantity of stolen gold bullion taken during the Brink's-Mat robbery by six armed men on 26 November 1983. While he was being investigated for his involvement in the crime, Noye fatally stabbed Detective Constable John Fordham who was involved in the police surveillance of Noye in the grounds of his home. Acquitted of murder on the grounds of self-defence in December 1985, he was found guilty in July 1986 of handling some of the stolen gold, and of a conspiracy to evade VAT.
The discovery of the bullion had surprised the gang as they expected to find £3 million in cash; their contacts had no experience of dealing with gold, let alone 6,800 bars worth £26 million in 1983. Mick McAvoy, one of the thieves, had asked Brian Perry to conceal the gold he had received, and it was Perry who brought in Noye and John Palmer, subsequently nicknamed "Goldfinger"; Palmer was acquitted in 1987 of knowingly handling gold from the robbery.
Noye had melted down much of the Brink's-Mat gold he had received, and mixed it with copper coins in an attempt to disguise its origins, although eleven gold bars from the robbery were found hidden at his home. Sentenced to 14 years, and fined £500,000 with £200,000 costs, he was released from prison in 1994, having served eight years. In a civil action brought by the loss adjusters of Brink's-Mat insurers, £3million was recovered from Noye while he was incarcerated.
Murder of Stephen Cameron
On 19 May 1996, while on release from prison on licence, Noye was involved in an altercation with 21-year-old motorist Stephen Cameron on a slip road of the M25 motorway near Swanley in Kent during a road rage incident. During the fight, Noye stabbed and killed Cameron with a knife. Noye immediately fled the country, later revealed to have been assisted by Palmer, who later claimed to have barely known Noye, if at all. While Noye was on the run, Detective Constable John Donald was jailed for 11 years for passing on confidential information about police operations to Noye.
Police initially named the man they wanted to question in connection with the murder as Anthony Francis. However, by December 1996 this name was revealed to have been a false identity used by Kenneth Noye, after a vehicle registered in his name was discovered to have been unloaded in Kyrenia, Cyprus, in July that year. The vehicle was a dark green L-registered Land Rover Discovery, which matched the description of the vehicle driven by the man who had fatally stabbed Stephen Cameron. However, Noye was not located in Cyprus, and due to Kyrenia's location in the Turkish occupied northern part of the country, Britain did not have the extradition treaties in place which would have allowed Noye to be extradited back to Britain if he had been tracked down to Northern Cyprus. It would be nearly two more years before Noye was finally tracked down.
A significant police hunt assisted by GCHQ led to Noye being located in Spain, where he was arrested in the resort of Barbate on 28 August 1998. Cameron's girlfriend Danielle Cable, who had witnessed the killing, was secretly flown out to positively identify him, which she did on 27 August. Noye was arrested the following day, and lost an appeal against his extradition from Spain seven months later. He was finally extradited to Britain in May 1999, nine months after his arrest, and went on trial 10 months later.
Despite the risk involved, Cable opted to testify against Noye. Noye claimed not to be a violent man at the trial, and again pleaded self-defence, explaining that he had fled because the police hated him and he feared not receiving a fair trial. Found guilty on 14 April 2000, after a trial held in conditions of high security, Noye was convicted of murder by the jury's majority verdict of 11–1 after their deliberations had lasted 8 hours and 21 minutes, and was given a life sentence by Lord Justice Latham. Despite evidence of his wealth, Noye was awarded legal aid amounting to about £250,000 for his defence at the trial (and he also received financial support for his initial appeal).
After auditors in an official inquiry found the correct procedures in such cases had not been followed, one of the officials responsible for Noye's financial support in the Lord Chancellor's office resigned, while another was disciplined. Cable was given a new identity under the witness protection programme, having been praised by police for her courage in giving evidence in the presence of Noye and his associates.
Another eyewitness, Alan Decabral, declined protection and was shot dead in his car in Ashford, Kent, on 5 October 2000; police sources were in no doubt that Decabral was killed by a professional hitman. However, police sources stated that Decabral had himself been questioned about gun smuggling, had extensive criminal contacts, and his estranged wife later admitted that he had been a drug dealer who owed money to others. Although Noye was questioned by the police, they concluded that the still-unsolved murder had no proven connection with him.
The judge at Noye's trial did not make any recommendation in open court as to the tariff for how long Noye should serve, but made the then-conventional written report to the Lord Chief Justice and the Home Secretary recommending a tariff of 16 years. In 2002 the then-Home Secretary David Blunkett duly set the tariff before Noye may apply for parole at 16 years as recommended. This tariff was subsequently upheld by Mr Justice Simon.
Noye was reported to have been moved from the Category A prison, HM Prison Whitemoor, to a Category B prison, at Lowdham Grange, in September 2011. Noye was formerly at Category C HM Prison Wayland in Griston, Norfolk, but was moved around March 2018 to HM Prison Standford Hill on the Isle of Sheppey, which is a low security prison with a day release provision for prisoners.
Other legal proceedings
On 10 October 2001 and again in 2004, Noye appealed unsuccessfully against his conviction. He was represented in 2001 by Michael Mansfield, QC. In 2007 a legal challenge was made against the Criminal Cases Review Commission's decision not to refer his case to the Court of Appeal as "legally flawed".
On 7 March 2008, on a new legal challenge, Lord Justice Richards and Mrs Justice Swift granted permission for a one-day judicial review hearing, covering the CCRC's October 2006 decision not to send Noye's case back to the Court of Appeal.
On 25 June 2010, Noye's bid to have the minimum term he must serve for murder reduced was rejected. Mr Justice Simon, a High Court judge sitting at Newcastle, ordered that he must spend at least 16 years in jail before he can be considered for parole. On 14 October of that year, Noye was granted a fresh appeal against his conviction for Cameron's murder, but it was rejected on 22 March 2011. Another appeal, this time against the tariff, was dismissed on 12 March 2013.
On 13 February 2015, BBC News reported that Noye had been granted a parole hearing. The Parole Board said the case had been referred by the secretary of state. Noye was refused permission to move to an open prison by Justice Secretary Michael Gove in October 2015 after such a move was recommended by the parole board.
However, in the High Court, Mr Justice Lavender accepted a legal challenge in February 2017 that Gove had "failed to give proper or adequate weight to the recommendation of the Parole Board". Edward Fitzgerald, QC, acting for Noye, said during the previous month's hearing that the board had "noted that he had made significant progress in changing his attitudes and tackling his behavioural problems". The counsel for the Justice Secretary, Tom Weisselberg, QC, said Gove had doubted Noye had reformed, and considered there was the risk he would escape because of his connections to Spain. it was announced in August 2017 that Gove's successor David Lidington had agreed Noye should be moved to open prison conditions. It was said by the parole board that this change is not in preparation for Noye's release.
Noye is married to Brenda Tremain, who lives in the east Cornwall town of Looe. They have two sons, Kevin and Brett. In 2013, Brett Noye was banned from being a company director for 21 years, for his part in a £2.4 million investor deception scheme involving a rat poison company.
Noye's villa in Atlanterra, Spain, which was purchased for £200,000 cash, was reportedly sold for £500,000 in 2001.
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- "Profile: Kenneth Noye", BBC News, 22 March 2011
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- Kim Sengupta and Paul Lashmar Noye's tangled web of corruption, Independent on Sunday, 14 April 2000
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- Palmer was reported by The Independent in 1993 as being subject to a Mareva injunction gained by Brink's-Mat from the High Court of Justice enabling investigators to track his substantial financial resources. See Phil Davison and Michael Prestage "Victims of a sunshine fraudster: Britons are being bullied and deceived by a timeshare firm in Tenerife", The Independent, 28 February 1993
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- "Action over Noye legal aid 'mistake'", BBC News, 29 July 2000
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- John Sweeney "Blood money", The Observer (Observer magazine), 25 February 2001
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- "Road rage killer granted parole hearing". ITV news.
- McConnell, Ed (26 March 2018). "Road rage murderer Kenneth Noye moved to Standford Hill open prison". Kent Online. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
- "Noye appeal fails", telegraph.co.uk, 10 October 2001
- "Killer Noye 'has become victim of oppressive regime'", telegraph.co.uk, 12 February 2004
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- "Noye seeks to overturn conviction", BBC News, 20 June 2007
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- "Kenneth Noye loses M25 murder conviction appeal". BBC News. 22 March 2011.
- Brian Farmer "M25 road rage killer Kenneth Noye fails in attempt to have minimum jail term cut", 12 March 2013
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- "Michael Gove blocks open prison move for road rage killer Kenneth Noye". The Guardian. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
- Evans, Martin; Farmer, Ben (24 February 2017). "Road rage killer Kenneth Noye wins open prison challenge". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
- "M25 killer Kenneth Noye to be transferred to open prison". The Guardian. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
- "Blood Money". The Observer. 25 February 2001. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- "Kenneth Noye's son in £2.4m rat poison rip-off". The Sevenoaks Chronicle. 19 July 2013. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-18.
- "Blood Money". The Observer. 25 February 2001. Retrieved 2014-08-18.