Noye admits stabbing on the M25 but insists that he killed 'in self-defence'

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The Independent Online

Danielle Cable had struggled hard to keep her emotions under control, but the tears finally came when she described the moment of her fiancé's death, how he struggled towards her, blood pouring out of his chest. Fifteen feet away Kenneth Noye, the man who had stabbed him, sat in the dock at No 2 Court of the Old Bailey, staring at her unwaveringly.

Stephen Cameron, 21, died after being knifed through the heart and liver when a "road rage" confrontation off the M25 turned to lethal violence. As he lay dying on the road, with a terrified Ms Cable screaming and crying, Mr Noye walked away smiling, the court was told. He admits stabbing Mr Cameron, who was unarmed, but claims self defence.

The court was told that after the killing Mr Noye, carrying a briefcase full of cash, fled by helicopter to France and then a private jet to Spain where he remained in hiding for two years. While fighting extradition after his arrest, Mr Noye, 52, claimed he had not been involved in the stabbing at all, but has since admitted wielding the knife which was plunged seven inches into his chest, the court was told.

Yesterday afternoon, in a packed and hushed courtroom, Ms Cable gave evidence about Mr Cameron's killing on 19 May 1996. A slim, small woman, now aged 21, she wore a black trouser suit, a white shirt and black framed glasses; in her right hand she clutched a rolled up white handkerchief. She did not look once at Mr Noye during her one hour 54 minutes in the witness box. She spoke softly, at times her voice almost inaudible, sometimes shaking her long brown hair vehemently as she rejected suggestions from Mr Noye's counsel that her fiancé was responsible for what happened.

Immediately after the stabbing, Mr Cameron came staggering towards her, Ms Cable said. "I saw Steve clutching his chest. He said, 'He stabbed me, damn. Take his number plate'. I saw blood on his chest..." Her voice faded away and she wiped her eyes. After a moment, she continued falteringly: "He sort of stumbled to the driver's side of our van. He stumbled to the ground. I felt dreadful ... I was screaming and crying, trying to find someone to help me."

Mr Noye, with thinning silver hair parted at the side, sat wearing a grey cardigan, light grey shirt and black trousers. Occasionally his stare would switch from Ms Cable to the jurors, watching their reaction. Sometimes he scribbled notes to be passed on to his lawyers.

Julian Bevan QC, for the prosecution, told the court that the killing happened at the end of an altercation that began when Mr Noye, driving a Land Rover Discovery, swerved in front of Ms Cable and Mr Cameron, who were travelling in a red Rascal van.

Mr Bevan continued: "Itwas a fatal stabbing of an unarmed man which was essentially born out of anger and maybe pride. There is no evidence in this case that either Stephen Cameron or his fiancée, Danielle Cable, had ever seen Noye before, let alone knew him."

He said of the defendant: "He now admits he was the person who held the knife and has put forward his defence to murder that 'I acted in self defence'. There is no issue that Kenneth Noye killed Stephen Cameron."

The court was told that after stopping at a traffic light on a slip road off the M25, near Swanley in Kent, Mr Noye stormed out of his Land Rover and approached the van, being driven by Ms Cable. Mr Cameron also got out of his vehicle. The court was told that in the fight that ensued Mr Noye was getting the worst of it against a younger, bigger and stronger opponent, and broke away. Returning to his car he produced a knife and confronted Mr Cameron "face to face".

Mr Bevan said that a passing driver in a Rolls-Royce witnessed the stabbing and then noted the expression on Mr Noye's face. He continued: "It appears that immediately after the stabbing, Kenneth Noye smiled and then made his way to his Discovery and drove off very quickly, leaving a collapsed Stephen Cameron effectively dying as a result of the two wounds he had received.

"Stephen was unarmed. He was empty-handed when he was stabbed to death. Stephen's decision to get out of that red van and deal with apotentially ugly situation cost him his life. The Crown's case is that the stabbing to death was not merely unlawful, it was murder."

Mr Noye was not arrested until two years later, when detectives took Ms Cable to Spain where she identified him at a restaurant. He was extradited to Britain in May last year.

Ms Cable told the court about the last minutes of her fiancé's life. Looking straight ahead, she described how both the cars had pulled up at a set of traffic lights. "The man in front got out. He was walking towards us. I had never seen him before. The other man had not said anything to us. I just saw his blank expression, I remember he was wearing jeans, shoes, a T-shirt and a flimsy short jacket with zip," she said.

Ms Cable said Mr Noye punched Mr Cameron on the eye. She continued: "Stephen stumbled and staggered back. He kicked the other man inhis legs. The other man had fumbled in both his jacket pockets and went towards his Land Rover.

"By this time I had got out of the van. Steve was telling me to stay back. I was going towards Steve, as I approached, the other man was standing looking at me.

"I saw something in the man's hand which I believed was a knife, so I ran around two other cars screaming and shouting, 'Can you help us?' I saw the blade. It was about four inches long. It was hardly in focus at any time at all."

Taking a deep breath she continued: "The man had his hand out, the blade towards Steve. It was so quick. He had his hand cut, then I saw him kicking. I ran around trying to get help. I went backwards, I was scared, I was screaming and running, calling for someone to help me because I was so frightened.

"Next thing I saw was Steve coming towards me around the back of the van. He was clutching his chest. The other man was getting in his jeep anddriving off."

An ambulance arrived and paramedics tried to massage Mr Cameron's chest. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. Ms Cable used her fiancé's mobile telephone to call his parents and tell them what had happened.

Under cross-examination from Mr Noye's counsel Stephen Batten, Ms Cable denied that her fiancé was hot-tempered or violent. Mr Batten asked: "Ms Cable, is it the fact that what you told the police, and told us, is because you find it difficult to accept, very naturally, that any of it was Stephen's fault?"

Ms Cable responded: "No, I don't believe it was Stephen's fault at all. I was there."

Talking about alleged discrepancies between statements she made at the time of the killing and her evidence in court, Ms Cable said she was trying to put the incident to the back of her mind. She said: "What stands out in my mind is the first time the man stabbed Steve, the knife he had in his hand, and Steve coming towards me with blood on him."

Ms Cable left the witness box and walked out of court, passing within a foot of the dock and Mr Noye. He gazed down at her, but she looked away, her face firmly set.

Mr Bevan told the court that the Land Rover Discovery was never found. Mr Noye had registered it the previous year under a false name - that of an Anthony Francis at an address in Bexley, Kent. That address belonged to a Mr Horton.

The court was told that there was "some evidence" that the car had been "disposed of" at a yard in Dartford, Kent.

Lord Justice Latham ordered protection for the eight women and four men of the jury on their way to court.

He told the jurors: "There are many people who have an interest in this case and itsoutcome. I have arranged for you to be provided with escorts that will, I am afraid, affect your daily life to some extent."

He said the jurors should not consider the safeguard "to be in any way prejudicial to Kenneth Noye".

The trial continues today.