R v Kenneth James Noye

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Criminal Division)
Judgment Date22 March 2011
Neutral Citation[2011] EWCA Crim 650
Docket NumberCase No: 2010/05650/D5
Date22 March 2011

[2011] EWCA Crim 650




Before: the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

Mr Justice Henriques and

Mr Justice Davis

Lord Justice Latham

Case No: 2010/05650/D5

Kenneth Noye
Reference by the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Miss Clare Montgomery QC and Mr Julian Knowles for the Appellant

Mr Mark Ellison QC and Mr Peter Grieves-Smith for the Respondent

Hearing dates: 9 th March 2011

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales:


On 14 April 2000 Kenneth Noye (the appellant) was convicted at the Central Criminal Court before Lord Justice Latham and a jury of the murder of Stephen Cameron on 19 th May 1996. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. His appeal against conviction was dismissed on 10 th October 2001.


On 13 th October 2010 the Criminal Cases Review Commission decided to refer the conviction to this court on two grounds:

a) New evidence that is capable of significantly undermining the credibility of a prosecution expert, Dr Heath, and the evidence he gave at trial.

b) New evidence that there was bruising to Mr Cameron's knuckles and new evidence that he would not necessarily have sustained bruising to his knuckles.



We must put these grounds into their factual context. This is a notorious case. At lunchtime on 19 th May 1996 on a roundabout at the M25/A20 interchange near Swanley in Kent Stephen Cameron was a passenger in a red Bedford van being driven by his girlfriend Danielle Cable. He was 21 years old, and she was 17. The appellant was driving on his own in a blue Land Rover Discovery. Just before traffic lights on the interchange the Discovery overtook the Bedford van and stopped in front of it. The appellant got out of his vehicle and walked back towards the Bedford van.


A fight took place between the two men. There were numerous witnesses, all of whom saw different parts of the fight from different angles and distances. Unsurprisingly they described the incident which they witnessed in their own different ways. Miss Clare Montgomery QC on behalf of the appellant drew attention in her written submissions, and then orally, to parts of the evidence which supported the appellant's case. We have considered them all, and done so by studying the transcripts of the evidence given at trial. However no fresh material arising from the eye witness evidence has been drawn to our attention, although we have had to consider an issue relating to one witness, Decabral, which was addressed by the Court of Appeal in October 2001.


In his summing up, the trial judge underlined the difficulties which faced the jury if they sought to construct a coherent story which would take account of each and every aspect of the evidence of each individual witness. As he put it, he suspected that the jury would not be able to "square some of the circles". He suggested that maybe what the jury should look for was the "shape of the evidence", the shape of the story, rather than the particular details, and he suggested to the jury they should not get too "tangled up" trying to answer the questions about which witness was where and when. Rather the jury was advised to examine the "mosaic of evidence" to see whether a satisfactory picture of what happened at the central point could be drawn. The central issue was self-defence, and the circumstances in which the appellant stabbed Mr Cameron and inflicted fatal injuries on him.


For present purposes, however, when all the evidence has been examined, and all the arguments and submissions about the significance to be attached to the evidence of Dr Heath are addressed, some stark facts are undisputed and indisputable.


It was the appellant who first left his vehicle. Looked at from Mr Cameron's point of view, and it is a view which should not be overlooked, the appellant would almost certainly have appeared to be looking for a confrontation. When the appellant left his vehicle he was, and he knew that he was, armed with a knife. At this stage Mr Cameron would have had no idea that his potential protagonist was carrying a weapon, and when he left the vehicle in which he was a passenger Mr Cameron was and from start to finish of the fight he remained unarmed. Precisely which of these two men struck the first blow is uncertain, but a time came when they briefly disengaged. There were, as Miss Montgomery put it in argument, two phases to the fight. At the end of the first phase, the appellant made his way towards his own vehicle. He went round the front of his vehicle to the passenger side. By then, even on the appellant's own evidence, he was not being followed by Mr Cameron. Mr Noye did not run away from the scene. He did not seek assistance from any of those in the vicinity. Instead he pulled out his knife and opened it. He then walked to the back of his vehicle (rather than round the front to the driver's door) where Mr Cameron was standing. The fight resumed. It came to an end when the appellant used the knife to inflict two stabbing wounds to Mr Cameron. These were not accidental stabbings, but as he accepted, deliberate blows while he held the opened knife in his clenched fist. In effect therefore he punched Mr Cameron in the chest with the knife. The second of these blows was the last blow in the fight. The appellant immediately drove away from the scene, taking the knife with him. He fled the country. During the course of extradition proceedings from Spain, he denied that he had had anything to do with Mr Cameron's death. He did not suggest that he had acted in self-defence until the trial process in this country.


In the meantime Mr Cameron had collapsed into the carriageway. No pulse was detected. The efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. He was taken to hospital. He was declared dead at 2.10pm, just about an hour after the altercation between the two men began.



The ancient common law principle of self-defence is readily understood. Unembellished by jurisprudential refinements, in general, the use of force is unlawful, but there are exceptions. Anyone who is under attack or in danger of being attacked is permitted to use violence in self-defence, using no more force to protect himself than reasonably necessary in the situation he believes himself to be. Even the use of a weapon to inflict fatal injury may fall within the ambit of this defence. However, it can only be in the most exceptional cases that this degree of violence would be consistent with the requirement that the force used in self-defence must be reasonably necessary. To kill someone by inflicting fatal injuries must surely be the very last resort.

The appellant's evidence at trial


The appellant gave evidence at trial. In 1985, he had fatally stabbed a camouflaged police officer wearing a balaclava at night in the appellant's garden. At his subsequent trial the jury could not exclude the realistic possibility that he had acted in self-defence, and he was acquitted. What could not be in doubt was that he had direct experience of the potential consequences of the use of a knife and the infliction of fatal injuries. He was convicted in 1986 of involvement in handling the proceeds of the gold stolen in the well known Brinks Mat robbery, when he was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment. He explained that he carried a knife for protection against the risk of kidnapping, or criminal activities by others seeking to discover the whereabouts of the as yet undiscovered substantial amount of the Brinks Mat gold. When he used the knife on Mr Cameron he believed himself to be in a situation of extreme danger, confronted by a man attacking him in a furious temper, who was threatening to kill him. He thought that the fight might end with Mr Cameron throwing him over the bridge on to the road beneath, or if Mr Cameron successfully knocked him out, he would remove the knife from him and use it on him, "without a shadow of doubt". This description of how he came to use the knife is said to be crucial to the issues surrounding the accuracy or otherwise of the evidence of Dr Heath, and the weight, if any, to be attached to the evidence of the pathologists.


In his evidence in chief, having referred to the fear that the knife would be "definitely" used on him, the appellant testified "I struck out…with the knife". In cross-examination he agreed that he realised that to thrust a knife with a 4 inch blade into somebody's chest could kill. When he was asked whether he had at any time lost his self-control he responded:

"Only when I panicked…then I panicked and then I used the knife"."


A short passage from the cross-examination is critical to the issues in this appeal:

"Q And it was a deliberate striking out with the knife?

A Yes.

Q So you did strike out with the knife deliberately?

A Yes.

Q It would appear, Mr Noye, that you did it twice, as the result of the wounds found on Stephen Cameron, yes?

A Yes.

Q Can we take it that the second blow was equally deliberate?

A I can't remember honestly doing the second blow but I accept it…there's two…, yes.

Q There is no question of you suggesting in this case to this jury that it was all an accident are you?

A Well, no, it wasn't an accident, I…struck out in panic because I thought if he'd got the knife off of me, he'd use it.

Q Right.

A He was in such a rage that I just.

Q We have reached this point, Mr Noye: that you admit, do you not, deliberately stabbing this man twice? You admit that?

A Yes."

A few questions later he repeated that he had "just panicked." "… it...

To continue reading

Request your trial
15 cases
  • R v Mark Dorling
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 1 November 2016
    ...the ultimate responsibility rests with them and them alone for deciding the question [whether or not the verdict is unsafe]'." 13 See too R v Noye [2011] EWCA Crim 650 at [25] and following per Lord Judge CJ. It is not in dispute that we are to take the same approach to the material not dis......
  • Alan Charlton and Idris Ali v R
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 8 March 2016
    ...as to the safety of a conviction. Lord Bingham, who gave the leading speech in Pendleton, was a party to Dial." 113 This was confirmed in R v Noye [2011] EWCA Crim 650 and in R v O'Meally [2015] EWCA Crim 905. Discredited police officers 114 In R v Willis, 2006 EWCA 609 Lord Justice Maurice......
  • The Queen v Jason Garland
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 21 November 2016
    ...applied. In both cases the material in question was not before the jury. 51 More recently, this approach has been applied by this court in R v. Noye [2011] EWCA Crim 650 at [25]–[31]; R v. O'Meally [2015] EWCA Crim 905 at [68]–[69]; R v. Edward Brown [2015] EWCA Crim 1328 at [43]–[46]; R v.......
  • S and Others v R
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 28 June 2012
    ...the fresh evidence would have had on the mind of the jury. Dial and another v State of Trinidad and Tobago [2005] 1 WLR 1660; R v Noye [2011] EWCA Crim 650" 4 The legal principles which apply to a proper assessment of the safety of a conviction in an appeal involving an application to adduc......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Fresh Evidence and Factual Innocence in the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal
    • United Kingdom
    • Journal of Criminal Law, The Nbr. 81-4, August 2017
    • 1 August 2017
    ...to do,these cases appear to be weighing up what the jury would or would not make of the evidence beyond all103. Ibid. at para. 35.104. [2011] EWCA Crim 650.105. [2015] EWCA Crim 905.106. [2015] EWCA Crim 1328.107. See, for example, RvDennis and others [2004] All ER (D) 05; RvAspery [2004] A......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT