He was a master criminal and a killer. But yesterday justice caught up with Kenneth Noye
By Kim Sengupta
14 April 2000
Kenneth Noye, professional gangster, double-killer and perhaps Britain's most notorious criminal, was jailed for life yesterday for a roadrage incident which ended in murder.
The conviction for killing Stephen Cameron, a 21-year-old electrician, on a slip road off the M25 came at the end of one of the most high-profile criminal cases in recent years.
In a bitter twist, Noye, aged 52, stood in the same courtroom at the Old Bailey in central London where he was cleared in 1985 of murdering John Fordham, an undercover detective.
In both cases, Noye pleaded self-defence. Yesterday the jury rejected his excuses and found him guilty of murder by an 11-1 majority.
The judge, Lord Justice Latham, was brief. "The jury have found you guilty of murder, there is only one sentence I can impose and that is life. I don't propose to say anything further at this stage," he declared.
With that, Noye - dressed in the same grey cardigan he had worn throughout his 12-day trial - was led quickly away. The jury of eight men and four women had been under police protection since the trial began.
There was no repeat of Noye's furious outburst from the dock when he was sentenced to 14 years for his part in the £26m Brink's-Mat gold robbery in the 1980s. Then he screamed at the jury: "I hope you all die of cancer."
Yesterday's verdict came after a trial in which witnesses told how Noye stabbed Mr Cameron through the heart and liver in a savage attack following a confrontation over a driving dispute.
One witness told the court he saw the glint of a blade before Noye thrust it twice into Mr Cameron's chest. Another said Noye had driven off after the attack with a look "as if to say - 'that's sorted him out ... you have got yours, mate'."
As Noye was led away, Mr Cameron's parents, Ken and Toni, whispered "yes" and punched the air. Mrs Cameron said afterwards: "This is not a joyous occasion. Our lovely son Stephen is dead and our lives will never be the same again.
"We will never feel the happiness that we once had. We are still experiencing overwhelming grief, as any parents who have lost a child will understand. For our beloved Stephen to lose his life - a life with so much future - and in such a wicked, senseless way, is very difficult to bear."
The beginning of Noye's jail term marks the effective end of a remarkable career in crime, during which he accumulated enormous wealth through violence and systematic corruption.
He used the vast flow of funds from drug dealing and robberies to fashion an international financial empire stretching across five continents.
Noye's ability to manipulate the system and bribe police officers gained him protection and helped him maintain his power in the underworld despite being sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment for handling gold from the Brink's-Mat robbery.
Immediately after stabbing Mr Cameron, Noye fled in his Land Rover Discovery and then used his extensive network of criminal contacts to fly to France in a helicopter. From there he travelled to southern Spain where he hid for two years. He was eventually tracked down by police to a hideaway near Cadiz, with the help of the secret eavesdropping centre, GCHQ, after an informer had provided his telephone number.
Mr Cameron's fiancée, Danielle Cable, who was with him at the time of the murder, was flown to Spain and carried out the crucial identification of Noye. She also gave evidence against him at the trial.
Such is the fear of vengeance by Noye that Ms Cable now has a different identity and lives in another part of the country.
Ms Cable's mother, Mandy, said last night: "I have spoken to her and of course she is very glad with the verdict.
"She went to work today in her new job, she felt thatwas the only way to keep her mind occupied."
Detective Superintendent Dennis McGookin, who headed the investigation which tracked down Noye, said "This shows you can run from justice but you cannot hide.
"Noye thought he was above the law and would never got to court."
While he was in hiding in Spain, Noye was visited by his wife, Brenda, and son, Kevin. Detectives tracked Mrs Noye during one of the flights to locate her husband.
Det Supt McGookin said police were planning to reopen their files to see whether further charges can be brought in relation to Noye's flight.
Even while on the run from police, Noye had carried on with his criminal activities. Police discovered that, using a false passport, he had travelled to Tangiers and Jamaica for drug deals, and then to Aruba in the Dutch Antilles where he was suspected of setting up false accounts.
Over the years Noye's criminal partners included some of the most notorious names in the underworld.
He had dealings with the Mafia in the US, and is also believed to have had contacts
in Northern Cyprus with Asil Nadir, the fugitive former boss of the Polly Peck empire.