Police wanted to destroy Noye, his wife tells court

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Kenneth Noye's wife told the Old Bailey yesterday that the police had warned her "they would not rest" until they saw Mr Noye spend the rest of his life in prison after he was cleared of stabbing to death the police officer John Fordham. Brenda Noye added: "And they wanted to destroy my family."

Mrs Noye said she believed her husband was "a very honourable man", and he had fled to Spain after killing Stephen Cameron, 21, "because he would not have got a fair trial. He had my blessing, it was the only thing he could do."

Mr Noye, 52, of Sevenoaks, Kent, admits killing Mr Cameron during a "road rage" altercation on an M25 slip road in Kent in May 1996, but denies murder, saying he acted in self defence. Mrs Noye gave evidence on behalf of her husband in a barely audible voice, which rose when she was engaged in acrimonious exchanges with Julian Bevan QC, for the prosecution. She said she had been married to Mr Noye for 30 years and had never experienced him being violent towards her, their two sons or anyone else.

Mrs Noye admitted she went to see her husband in Spain "two or three times" but she denied using false papers. "He wanted to come back but because of the press coverage, it made it impossible for him to come back," she said. "He planned to stay away until the press stopped accusing him and blackening his name" over the M25 killing. He "acted in self-defence. He told me the truth, he defended himself."

She was aware her husband always carried a knife. "I could understand why he needed to. He was concerned about security and had cameras installed at our home."

After Mr Noye received a 14-year sentence for handling gold stolen from the Brink's-Mat robbery, Mrs Noye said she "received a considerable amount of threatening letters where me and my children's lives were threatened. I lived in fear, especially for the children. I took the letters seriously.

"I told Ken about them. He was very upset as there was nothing he could do about it, so the majority of the time I said nothing."

On the day that Mr Cameron was stabbed to death, Mrs Noye recalled her husband arriving home in a "very agitated state". She said: "He had a cut nose, his eyes were swelling and his face was very red and blotchy. I knew there had been an incident because it was on TV. I did not know Ken had anything to do with it. I only knew when he came home and told me what happened."

Mrs Noye said she did not know where her husband had gone when he fled to Spain after the killing.

Under cross-examination from Mr Bevan, she also maintained that she had never asked her husband whether he was guilty of the Brink's-Mat charge because she had felt no need to.

Asked whether she knew that her husband used a false name, Anthony Francis, Mrs Noye said that it was "not illegal" to do so. She said she did not know that her husband kept a large amount of ready cash at their home and refused to name his friends. "I don't want to get innocent people involved in this case, the police will make their lives a misery as well," she said.

Earlier yesterday, a defence witness told the jury that MrCameron was aggressive and had a fiery temper. Sean Johnson also said that when he questioned Mr Cameron's fiancée, Danielle Cable, about a newspaper account that Mr Noye had carried out an unprovoked attack on Mr Cameron, she said: "What do you expect me to say?"

But Mr Johnson, a former partner of Ms Cable's aunt, Michelle Cable, admitted under cross-examination he was a convicted armed robber, had been involved in drug running with the former Great Train Robber Gordon Goody and had his hotel bill paid by Mr Noye's son, Kevin. Asked by Mr Bevan when he had last seen Kevin Noye, Mr Johnson replied: "Last night."

Mr Johnson was sentenced to three and a half years at a young offenders' institution after admitting robbing a post office in 1993. He said he had met Kevin Noye, who was seeking information to help his father, while on holiday in Spain.

The trial continues.