The English have always had a long and proud tradition of winning over the hearts and ears of their North American cousins, even their criminals find a place in our hearts. Sitting beside Charles Bronson is another famous folk hero bandit, Ronnie Biggs, a fugitive loved by all.
Born in 1939 in the grandiose London, England, in a tragic turn of events Ronnie Biggs passed away on December 18th 2013. Many around the world are grieving the death of this famous fugitive; there is no shortage of fans that will truly remember the name Ronnie Biggs. The year was 1963, the place was Buckinghamshire, UK, the target was the Glasgow-to-London mail train. Biggs and some colleagues (can you call fellow gang members this?) stole around $7 million in bank notes — close to $51 million in today’s dollars from the mail train. Not long after Biggs was caught and incarcerated but like the mastermind he was — he escaped from jail by scaling the wall with a rope just after a year into his term. That being said, a high majority of the heist masterminds were caught and incarcerated for their crimes. After escaping, Biggs went to Australia then to Brazil before surrendering 30 years later back in the UK. After his decision to come back , The Sun, a tabloid paper in the UK, paid for the private jet that brought this beloved criminal home.
“My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter.” – Biggs
Three decades is a long time to run for Ronnie Biggs – a fugitive loved by all – but in the wake of the excitement Biggs inherited a reputation as one of the world’s most famous fugitives – perhaps taking the podium beside Bonnie and Clyde. Legend has it after the heist, Biggs used a portion of his money for plastic surgery and a safe ride to Australia. After that era was up he fled to Brazil sneaking through Panama then Venezuela. He certainly felt comfortable in the South American country, as sources are saying he was seen partying in a police officer’s uniform, and more notably recorded a song with The Sex Pistols in the late 70’s. Biggs went so far as to give interviews to English newspapers.
Biggs didn’t have it all easy as a loved fugitive — sometime in his 30 years on the run men kidnapped him and sold him off to make some quick coin — somehow he escaped and survived! Biggs stayed afloat by hosting gatherings for interested tourists and royalties on his books. Once the funds dried up he decided to mosey his way back to the UK to serve the rest of his term.
Ronnie Biggs was released from jail in 2009 due to health concerns, and in late 2011 released his autobiography titled “Odd Man Out: The Last Straw”.
The world has come together to mourn for this beloved criminal, perhaps we should take a moment and remember the good instead of the treason Biggs has committed. After all, Ronnie Biggs was fugitive loved by all.
Editorial by Sebastian Barkovic