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Notorious Bexley criminal remembered as Flying Squad celebrates 100 years

PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 September 2018

Kenneth Noye grew up in Bexleyheath. Picture: PA

Kenneth Noye grew up in Bexleyheath. Picture: PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

At the age of 15, notorious Bexley criminal Kenneth Noye left Bexleyheath School in 1962.

His stint in borstal that would follow after he sold stolen bicycles after altering their appearances would mark the first of his infamous criminal activities.

This month marks 100 years since the Metropolitan Police’s Flying Squad was formed, a group which would come to be involved in Noye’s eventual imprisonment.

The branch of the Serious and Organised Crime Command has been involved in some of London’s most famous investigations, from its first high-profile success against a gang of armed robbers in 1948 who intended to steal a consignment of gold bullion worth £250,000 to the 1963 Great Train Robbery.

One such case that was solved by the squad was the Brink’s-Mat robbery, in which £26million worth of gold, diamonds and cash was stolen from a warehouse at the Heathrow International Trading Estate in November 1983.

Among the robbers involved in this was Kenneth Noye.

While being investigated for the robbery, Noye killed DC John Fordham, but was acquitted of murder in late 1985 after he claimed he had stabbed the officer in an act of self-defence.

An article from the Bexleyheath and Welling Times, dated December 1985, states that Noye had been considered troublesome from a young age.

After his acquittal, a former classmate had described him in the article as “a bit of a tearaway.”

The article stated that Noye had been a trouble-maker during his time at school.

Another article at the time from the Bexleyheath and Welling Times documents Noye’s criminal activity after he admitted to dealing in smuggled gold whilst on trial for DC Fordham’s murder.

It states: “The police took the Noyes’ luxury home apart piece by piece” and that Noye had “offered a detective a £1million bribe.”

According to the article, DC Fordham was part of a surveillance team watching Mr Noye’s home because police were convinced it was the distribution point for gold stolen from Brinks-Mat security vaults at Heathrow.

Noye had melted down much of the gold he had received, mixing it with copper coins as a disguise, although 11 gold bars were found hidden in his home.

Noye was arrested in July 1986 for handling stolen goods obtained through the robbery.

He was released from prison in 1994, but would go on to kill again just two years later.

On May 19 1996, Noye murdered 21-year-old Stephen Cameron in a road rage incident near Swanley.

He immediately fled the country.

A police hunt, assisted by GCHQ led to Noye being tracked down in Spain, where he was arrested in August 1998.

In May 1999, Noye was extradited to Britain and went on trial in 2000.

Noye again pleaded self-defence, but was found guilty of murder in April 2000.

Flying Squad officers deal with London’s most ruthless villains, including Noye.

Now 71, Noye remains in prison on a life sentence for the murder of Stephen Cameron.

Det Ch Sup Mick Gallagher, head of the Met’s Organised Crime Command, spoke about how The Flying Squad has kept evolving to meet the challenges of policing today.

He said: “The Flying Squad’s name is synonymous throughout the world for excellence in policing and it is fantastic to be able to celebrate the unit’s 100th anniversary.

“Today the Flying Squad continues to lead specialist investigations into some of the most serious, violent, and organised criminals operating across London.

“It would be wrong to think we no longer respond to armed robberies and smash and grabs, but serious organised crime is continually changing and the Flying Squad continues to adapt and develop to remain at the cutting edge of law enforcement and maintain levels of operational excellence Scotland Yard is known for.

“The Flying Squad rightly remains at the forefront of the Met’s respond to serious organised criminality and I look forward to seeing this highly-skilled unit continue to help keep the streets of London safe.”

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