Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies: reports

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is seen posing for a photograph in Brazil in this September 1992 file photograph. Biggs, one of Britain's most notorious criminals known for his role in the Great Train Robbery of 1963, died on December 18, 2013 at the age of 84, his spokeswoman said. Photo - Reuters

London: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, whose escape from jail and decades spent on the run made him one of Britain's most notorious criminals, died on Wednesday at the age of 84, media reports said.

Biggs had suffered a series of strokes in recent years and was at the time of his death being cared for in a home in north London, the reports said.

Biggs was part of a gang that robbed the mail train from Glasgow to London on August 8, 1963, seizing £2.6 million -- the equivalent of £46 million (54 million euros, $75 million) today.

Although they initially seemed to get away with it, 11 of the robbers were rounded up and sent to jail, with Biggs sentenced to 30 years.

If he had served his full sentence his name might have been forgotten, but after 15 months Biggs broke out of his London jail in an audacious escape which ultimately led him to Rio.

There he had a son, Michael, by a Brazilian girlfriend which ensured him immunity from extradition back to Britain.

But he suffered several strokes and in 2001 returned voluntarily to Britain to get the better healthcare available in prison and on the state-funded National Health Service.

He was returned to jail but in 2009 was released on compassionate grounds.

Biggs was last seen in public in March at the London funeral of fellow Great Train Robber Bruce Reynolds.


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