Kenneth Noye was a key figure in the Brink’s-Mat robbery

The Gold: Half of the gold missing from Brink’s-Mat robbery

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The Gold has been captivating audiences since it started airing on the BBC. The six-part drama series chronicles the Brink’s-Mat robbery in which a group of armed men unwittingly stumbled across £26million in gold bullion while holding up the Brink’s-Mat security depot close to Heathrow Airport in a run-of-mill heist. Many audience members are now keen to know about the true story behind the biggest heist in the world as well as the fates of some of the key players depicted in the TV series including Kenneth Noye (played by Jack Lowden).

Noye was sentenced to 14 years behind bars for his role in the Brink’s-Mat robbery and had to pay fines of £500,000 with £200,000 costs, however, he was released from prison in 1994 after only serving eight years.

Then in 1996, he stabbed to death a fellow motorist on an M25 slip road in Kent, before fleeing Britain.

Two years later, he was found living in Spain and extradited to stand trial for the crime.

During the case, Noye claimed he’d acted in self-defence in a fight with victim Stephen Cameron.

He was handed a life sentence after being found guilty by a jury, however, he was released on licence in 2019.

True crime author, journalist and writer Clarkson said of the depiction of Noye in the BBC series: “He’s a lot shorter than the actor.

“He is very down to earth and he is two people like most criminals.

“He is at least two people. There’s a fun block who loves partying, who’s very good with – in his parlance – ‘the birds’ – and he’s a good neighbour.”

The author went on to say: “But the other side of him was the cold-blooded criminal, who we know all about who’s killed two people separately.”

Clarkson alleged Noye previously made threats on his life, saying: “He threatened to kill me six years ago in a note he wrote inside one of my books on him, which he then gave to a prison officer who then forwarded it to me.

“I then wrote about it in return because I felt it was very important to get it out there because it would sort of prevent it happening, if you know what I mean.”

Clarkson went on to say of Noye now: “He gets out and is working on a book and he’s going from being a reclusive criminal, who hates journalists, to the Prince Harry of the underworld, basically. In the last few weeks, it’s been astounding.”

The author claimed about Noye’s supposed U-turn: “He seems to have changed his complete attitude.

“He was anti-journalists, reclusive, workaholic – renowned as a criminal workaholic who loves a scheme, loves a deal, going back to before Brink’s-Mat.”

Clarkson went on to claim: “But now, we’re supposed to accept he’s rehabilitated. I’ll leave that for others to decide if he has and he also wants to be a bit of a celebrity – that surprised me enormously.

“For him, it’s something he’s thought through very carefully because he does nothing – apart from killing people – without thinking very carefully about it.

“He’s a very tenacious bloke and I can assure you he will still be ‘working’ now.”

Clarkson said the BBC drama had seen real-life figures like Noye and Johnny Palmer softened and turned into “likely lads” and “almost happy-go-lucky”.

In some respects, however, he said the show got surprisingly near to the true story.

But there were smaller details such as the interior of Noye’s house looking more “lord of the manor” than the shag pile carpets and beige in his real home, which Clarkson has seen.

Clarkson: “I want to be more critical of the show than I really feel I can be. I didn’t watch it for a bit. I could have watched it ages ago.

He eventually bit the bullet and did watch The Gold: “But then I realised it is good and I realised that most people who watch TV are in the 60s and this seems to appeal to them. But there’s another market that finds it fascinating because of the era in which it’s set and the attitudes and the differences and even the retro outfits.”

The Curse of Brink’s-Mat by Wensley Clarkson is available to buy now

The Gold airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm and is streaming as a boxset on the BBC iPlayer

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