Ronnie Biggs, 84, who helped stage Britain's Great Train Robbery and eluded justice for 36 years after his escape from prison, died in a care home in London on Wednesday. He had been unable to speak and had difficulty in walking after a series of strokes.
Mr. Biggs lived without fear of extradition in Brazil until 2001, when he returned to the United Kingdom voluntarily, saying he wanted to give himself up and perhaps even have a pint with the Scotland Yard detective who for years had pursued him. Mr. Biggs was jailed to complete the 30-year sentence imposed after the 1963 train heist. In 2009, he was released on compassionate grounds due to ill health.
The country's most notorious train robber escaped from prison in 1965. He fled to France and then Spain, recuperating from plastic surgery before slipping out to Australia and eventually Brazil.
By the time detective Jack Slipper traced him to Rio de Janeiro in 1974, Mr. Biggs' girlfriend, Raimunda de Castro, was pregnant. He evaded deportation to Britain because Brazilian law protects the father of a local-born child from extradition.
Allowed to stay in Brazil, but prohibited from formal employment, Mr. Biggs began a new life in Rio. With little remaining of his $4 million share from the robbery, he undertook odd jobs and business ventures. He made furniture, a craft he learned in prison, and sold his celebrity to tourists and journalists.