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Friday, 9 September 2011

Killer Kenneth Noye was secretly moved to a Category B Lowdham Grange

23:13 |

The Notorious gangland boss killed a police officer and brutally stabbed a motorist to death during a road rage attack.

Caged for life in 2000, Noye also reportedly hatched an escape plot during his time at top-security HMP Whitemoor.

Yet prison life has just got a whole lot easier for the 64-year-old multi-millionaire.

He was transferred in secret yesterday morning from Whitemoor to the Category B Lowdham Grange – one of the cushiest prisons in Britain.

Inmates say it is more like a holiday camp than a prison, and pampered Noye will enjoy a cell to himself, with a TV, PlayStation, fridge and an en-suite shower.

Insiders say it will prepare him for his release – which may come in less than four years’ time.

The family of Stephen Cameron, 21 – who was stabbed to death by Noye during a row on an M25 roundabout in 1996 – are disgusted by the move.

His dad Ken, 64, fumed: “He is still a very dangerous man. A leopard never changes its spots. But now he’s going to get a softer time inside.”

Speaking at his home in Norfolk, he went on: “They are moving him to a softer prison and didn’t even let us know. It’s outrageous. Out of courtesy I would hope we would have been notified. He’s got around three-and-a-half years to go in prison. Surely this is too early to de-categorise him to Category B?” He added: “With his money and contacts it must make it easier for him to attempt to escape.”

Prison officers at Whitemoor were given a secret briefing at 7am yesterday. Noye was then placed in a van where he was cuffed to a guard and driven from Cambridgeshire to Nottinghamshire.

Six years ago he was moved to another jail after officers reportedly foiled an apparent escape plot. Noye is said to have arranged for a mobile phone – which he planned to use in his breakout attempt – to be smuggled into Whitemoor in a box of Weetabix.

But his bid was thwarted and he was transferred under armed guard to an escape-proof fortress in Full Sutton prison in York.

The gangland boss was later moved back to Whitemoor and at first was held inside the Special Secure Unit due to his exceptional risk factor.

But for the last five years sources say Noye has been a model prisoner. He was moved out of the secure unit and lived on Bravo B Wing where he was top dog.

A source said: “He was the king of the castle. Nothing went on in that prison without him knowing. He was friends with everyone at Whitemoor – the Turks, the Russians, not so much the Muslim gangs, but they respected him.

“He is an old-school villain with lots of money and connections. Nobody messes with him. There was trouble a few years ago between a few lads from Manchester and a group from Liverpool. Noye had a word with them and after that there was no more fighting between them. The guards love him. He’s polite and respectful and good as gold.

“He was looking forward to getting out of Whitemoor. He called it a toilet. The prison he’s gone to is much softer.

“He’s seeing it as progress to eventually being released.”

Noye, a notorious figure in Britain’s underworld for decades, was involved in the £26million Brink’s-Mat gold bullion heist in 1983.

Policeman John Fordham, 45, was stabbed to death by Noye while carrying out undercover surveillance in the grounds of his home in West Kingsdown, Kent, in 1985.

However, Noye was acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defence.

In 1986, he was jailed for 14 years for handling the stolen Brink’s-Mat gold but was released in 1994.

Two years later, he fled the UK after fatally stabbing Stephen Cameron by the M25.

He was eventually caught in Spain in 1998, deported back to Britain and convicted of murder. In March Noye lost an appeal against his conviction.

The Prison Service said: “We do not comment on the location of individual prisoners.”

All mod cons at cushy Grange jail

LOWDHAM Grange is said by former prisoners to be more like a holiday camp than a prison.

Inmates at high security ­Category A jails such as Whitemoor or ­Wakefield can only dream of the perks enjoyed by its prisoners.

Convicted animal rights activists, who waged a campaign to shut down a guinea pig farm, described their spell at Lowdham in 2006 as “like a stay in Butlin’s”.

The jail consists mainly of single cells. The luckiest lags even get their own ensuite showers.

It has workshops, ­education and training in areas such as bricklaying, plumbing, ­electronics, painting and decorating and ­industrial cleaning.Prisoners get paid £2 a day for working and £1.40 per session of education they sign up for.

Noye will get a cell with a Playstation and TV, fridge, power points, his own bedding and clothes for £1 per week.

If he fancies taking up a hobby, he will be supplied with all the kit.

Most of the prisoners can make phone calls from landlines in their cells if they submit a list of numbers for approval.

It is yet to be seen if Noye will be allowed this – it could potentially allow him to run his business from his cell.

Verdict: Criminal law expert Max Gold says: “Prisoner categorisation depends on the reports prepared on inmates, and each decision is made on an individual basis.

“In Noye’s case they have clearly decided he is less of a risk than in the past. If he breaks any rules in his new jail, he can be upgraded back to Category A and will lose his privileges.”

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