Questions over the career of Mr Noye

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The Independent Online
DETECTIVES who are to interview the road-rage killing suspect Kenneth Noye after yesterday's announcement of his arrest in Spain will want to question the veteran villain about more than just the death of motorist Stephen Cameron.

The 51-year-old associate of the gang that carried out Britain's biggest robbery - the 1983 Brink's-Mat gold bullion raid - has long been connected to crime, facing allegations of theft, handling, drug-smuggling and murder.

While being sought after he was linked with the knife attack on Mr Cameron at a junction on the M25 in 1996, reports focused on another killing where police were said to claim that his assistance would be more than helpful. Although there have been no allegations that the arrested fugitive shot Essex car dealer John Marshall, police sources claimed that Noye was linked to the killing, with his name coming up again and again during inquiries.

There were also reports that Kent police want to question him over allegations that he tried to bribe a prison officer at the low-security Blantyre House jail, near Maidstone, where he served a sentence for handling Brink's- Mat gold.

A gang of armed robbers had discovered three tons of gold ingots when they burst into the Brink's-Mat warehouse, near Heathrow airport, and held up staff at gunpoint. The haul was worth pounds 26m, far more than the pounds 1m in cash they had hoped to steal, making them beneficiaries of Britain's most lucrative robbery but leaving them with the problem of laundering the proceeds without drawing attention to themselves.

They turned to Noye, who had established himself in the London and south- east underworld as a handler of stolen goods who was not afraid of dealing with large sums of money.

Also, according to Public Enemy Number One: The Life and Crimes of Kenneth Noye by Wensley Clarkson, he had made a fortune out of smuggling gold from Rwanda and Brazil, changing identifying hallmarks at a smelter, then selling it as legal bullion.

Police claimed that he was passed large chunks of the Brink's-Mat proceeds, after which he made deposits of more than pounds 1m at banks in the UK, Switzerland and Ireland, once carrying pounds 600,000 cash to his local Kent bank in supermarket bags.

Following the arrest of some of the gang members, Noye became a suspect and police sent surveillance teams to his home in Kent. In a search, detectives found 11 bars of Brink's-Mat gold buried in his garden and he was charged with handling.

He was found guilty and was sent to jail for 14 years. As he left the dock, Noye snarled at the jurors: "I hope you all die of cancer."

In jail, Noye was reported to have continued his involvement in big-money crime. However, he obtained early release, and little was heard of him until the stabbing of Mr Cameron in May 1996. He died after an argument with the driver of an L-registration Land Rover Discovery. E-fit photographs based on information from the victim's girlfriend showed a marked resemblance to Noye. A week later it was revealed in the press that police wanted to speak to Noye but it appeared he had fled the country - probably to Spain.

Police later said they had traced three vehicles all with the same number plates as that driven by the killer, and in September Noye was officially named as prime suspect in the murder inquiry in the Police Gazette. A coroner later recorded a verdict of "unlawful killing" on Cameron's death.