Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies at age of 84

This January 1994 file photo shows Ronnie Biggs, known as the "Great Train Robber," flashing the victory sign while presenting his autobiography "Odd Man Out" to the press in Rio de Janeiro. (AAP)

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, who won worldwide notoriety after escaping and living the high life in Rio de Janeiro and Sydney, has died.

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 ($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 by scaling a prison wall and leaping on to the roof of a furniture van.

His three decades on the run took him to France, Spain and Australia before he settled in Brazil where he flaunted his freedom by frequently being pictured in British newspapers partying.  

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.

Source AAP, AP

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