Great Train Robbery’s Ronnie Biggs dies

Ronnie Biggs, a member of a gang that in 1963 hijacked a London-bound Post Office train, has died aged 84.

Biggs at a press conference in Brasilia, c1970s - Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty

Ronnie Biggs, a member of a gang that in 1963 hijacked a London-bound Post Office train, has died aged 84.

Biggs’s 15-strong gang escaped with around £2.3m – about £30m today – on 8 August 1963.

The men hijacked the Glasgow to London train, and rendered driver Jack Mills unconscious. Mills never worked again, and died in 1970.

The gang received a total of 307 years in prison. Police spent five years hunting for ringleader Bruce Reynolds, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Ronnie Biggs received 30 years, but escaped from Wandsworth Prison in a furniture van 15 months later.

He returned to the UK in 2001 seeking medical help, but was sent to prison. He was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after contracting pneumonia.

Biggs was being cared for at the Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, north London. He died early on Wednesday.

Earlier this year crime and policing historian Clive Emsley told historyextra that members of the Great Train Robbery gang were “second-rate thieves” who “happened to get lucky”.

Thousands of Twitter users have turned to the social networking site to discuss the news.

“Ronnie Biggs was an unrepentant, violent criminal who does not deserve praise from anybody,” said one user.

“RIP Ronnie Biggs,” said another.

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