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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Tourist killer's minimum term set
Scales of justice
The minimum term of Noble's sentence was set at 12 years
A man who strangled a US tourist in London after befriending her has been told he must remain in jail until at least 2015.

Robert Noble, from Gretna, was jailed for life in April 2003 after he admitted the murder of Alyson Caplan.

The minimum amount of time before he can seek parole has now been set at 12 years and two months.

Once this expires, Noble will only be released if he convinces the parole board he poses no danger to the public.

The court was told Noble's 20-year-old victim was on a tour of Europe when she was stranded in London in a snowstorm in January 2003.

She was a helpless girl in a very difficult situation not of her own making, a visitor to this country who had accepted an offer of help
Mr Justice Jack

Miss Caplan, the daughter of a wealthy financial investor from Los Angeles, had planned to meet an English friend before touring around Europe.

However, weather conditions left coaches and trains out of the capital suspended.

Noble, a jobless and homeless petty criminal, was living in a hotel under a scheme to help drink and drug addicts at the time.

He approached Miss Caplan when he saw her struggling with luggage and being harassed by a drunk.

The trial heard how Noble took her back to his hotel where they talked for hours and had sex before he strangled her with two scarves.

Stolen items

Noble stole various items, including a $1,000 Gucci watch which he pawned for 10, before phoning police to tell them what he had done.

He also called relatives in Gretna to confess to the murder and asked for his mother to be told before she read it in the papers.

Noble himself described the killing as "cruel and nasty".

In setting the minimum tariff, Mr Justice Jack outlined the aggravating features of the murder.

"She was a helpless girl in a very difficult situation not of her own making, a visitor to this country who had accepted an offer of help and who was taken advantage of for money by a man with a record of dishonesty," he said.

'Genuine offer'

However, the judge added: "The offer of help was genuine, and it was only when they were in the hotel room, and there without coercion on the defendant's part, that violence began, in the course of consensual sex.

"He gave himself up to the police and without prevarication explained what he had done and why."

When time spent on remand is taken into account the decision means that Noble can seek parole in 2015 at the earliest.

When released, he will remain on perpetual "life licence" and be subject to recall to prison.


SEE ALSO
Man jailed for tourist murder
23 Apr 03 |  Scotland

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