Ronnie Biggs, British Train Robber, Dead At 84By: Val Powell - December 18, 2013
One of Britain’s most notorious criminals Ronnie Biggs– infamous for the 1963 Great Train Robbery–has died at the age of 84. His publisher, Cliff Moulder told CNN that friends and family informed him that Biggs died Wednesday morning.
Biggs made headlines when he took part in The Great Train Robbery and escaped with £2.6m from a Glasgow train on Aug 8, 1963. He was one of 14 professional criminals who robbed the train that day. The Great Train Robbery had transformed Biggs from a petty street thief to one of the most wanted criminals in Britain making him the subject of many films, books and TV shows. Among the most recent books about Biggs include: The Great Train Robbery — 50th Anniversary Special and the Odd Man Out: The Last Straw.
Biggs was sentenced to 30 years in prison but escaped in 1965 after serving just 15 months. He spent the next 36 years of his life on the run from the law in countries like France, Australia and Brazil. He was later sent back to prison in 2001 when he returned to the UK to seek medical attention. However, he was released in 2009 after contracting pneumonia.
News of Biggs’ death spread quickly with many people recalling their personal and business interactions with him. One notable thing about Biggs is the folk hero status he acquired for his crime. Many people seemed to forget that he hurt people in the train robbery. Train conductor Jack Mills was struck over the head with an iron rod by Biggs’ gang. Seven years later he died. Some have attributed Mills’ death to the injuries he sustained during the robbery.
A Twitter account that markets his books said: “Sadly we lost Ron during the night. As always, his timing was perfect to the end. Keep him and his family in your thoughts.”
Biggs is said to have died after a series of strokes. The last time he was seen in public was in March while attending the funeral of his fellow Great Train Bandit, Bruce Reynolds. Before his demise, he was being treated at the Carlton Court Care Home in North London.
Image via YouTube