Road rage killer Kenneth Noye loses appeal

Tuesday 22 March 2011 14:03 GMT
Road rage killer Kenneth Noye
Road rage killer Kenneth Noye

Road rage killer Kenneth Noye lost an appeal against his murder conviction today.

Noye, now 63, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in 2000 for the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Stephen Cameron on an M25 slip road at Swanley in Kent in 1996.

In 2001 he lost a conviction challenge and at the Court of Appeal today three judges rejected a new bid to have his conviction overturned.

His appeal was dismissed by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Mr Justice Davis.

Noye's conviction came under scrutiny again following a decision to refer his case to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), the independent body which investigates possible miscarriages of justice.

It was argued on his behalf at a recent appeal hearing - watched by Noye via video link from prison - that key prosecution witnesses at his trial had now been "so discredited" that his conviction should be quashed.

At the heart of the challenge, claiming Noye's conviction was "unsafe", was the evidence given at trial by the now "discredited" pathologist Michael Heath.

Noye, who fled to Spain after the stabbing but was extradited in 1998, had denied murder on grounds of self-defence.

In their ruling today the judges said that what Noye did "was not self-defence".

Lord Judge said: "Rather it was a gross over-reaction in the context of a fight with an unarmed man, almost certainly consequent on the fact that the appellant was losing it."

The appeal judges emphasised that "there was no doubt that Mr Cameron was deliberately stabbed by the appellant".

Lord Judge said nothing in Dr Heath's evidence "threw light on the truthfulness, or otherwise, of what the appellant asserted was in his mind, which was that he struck out in a panic while in mortal fear".

The prosecution case was that he had deliberately used the knife and caused the fatal injury, "not because he was in a panic or fearful of mortal injury, but because he had involved himself in a fight which he was determined he should not lose, and so he resorted to the use of a fatal weapon".

Ruling that Noye had not acted in self-defence, Lord Judge said: "To open the knife, and then return to the fight and 'punch' Mr Cameron with the open knife held in his fist was a wholly disproportionate response, particularly when the appellant might have tried to run away, or sought refuge among the many people who were in the vicinity or, if he genuinely thought Mr Cameron might indeed disarm him and then use the knife on him, throw the knife away."

Lord Judge added: "Dr Heath's evidence did not impinge on the essential issues in this trial, and the diminution of his standing as an expert witness does not undermine the safety of this conviction."

The judges found that no point raised during the appeal had caused the court to doubt the safety of the conviction.

Kent Police welcomed the judges' decision to reject Noye's appeal.

Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Dave Withers said: "We are pleased that the court have examined the evidence that has been presented and have found that the conviction is safe.

"We now hope that this brings some reassurance to Stephen Cameron's family and friends."

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