Ronnie Biggs has died at the age of 84. He was one of the infamous robbers involved in the Great Train Robbery, and stated he gained £147,000 from the loot. However, it has now been released that the Great Train Robber, Biggs, cost UK taxpayers 1,000 GBP per week during his imprisonment.
Biggs was one of 15 men on the Glasgow to London mail train, where they stole £2.5 million in total. In an interview, the robber did admit to spending his entire share within the space of three years. He was captured relatively quickly after the robbery due to fingerprints left at the scene of the splitting of the money, and was sentenced to 30 years behind bars.
Within 15 months, Biggs was out on the street again after escaping his imprisonment. He opted for plastic surgery to change his face and made it to Australia. He was soon followed by Chairmian, his wife, and two sons. When he found out Interpol suspected that he was living in Adelaide, he moved to Melbourne.
Biggs’ late wife explained how the money had been spent on the legal fees, to help the escape, the plastic surgery, and then on the move to Australia. They both had to find work while living in Melbourne to support themselves and their growing family.
Eventually, Interpol realized that they had moved to Melbourne and Biggs went into hiding. His wife was soon arrested when she was trying to visit him. They did eventually divorce after he was arrested again and his wife found out that he was having an affair in Brazil.
The arrest has led to the Great Train Robber, Biggs, costing the UK taxpayers 1,000 GBP per week. He had a series of strokes while living in Brazil, where he lived openly but could not be extradited back home. He made the decision to fly back to the UK when he needed medical help. The flight back was all arranged by the British tabloid, The Sun.
In 2009, he needed medical care rather than life in prison, and was sent to Carlton Court Care. This is known as one of the best care homes in the country and takes pride in offering the best possible care, even though it does come at the cost of 1,000 GBP per week.
The family of Biggs stated they could not afford to pay for the care themselves. The money from the robbery had been spent. Chairmian Biggs had divorced her husband, so had no legal bind to pay for his care, either. One of his sons, Mike, lived in Barnet, so it fell to the taxpayers to cover the high costs. The mayor of the local council, Brian Coleman, was not happy with the outcome. He stated that he could not understand why it should fall on the taxpayer when Biggs had done nothing to deserve it.
The death of Biggs has come at an interesting time. It is 50 years since The Great Train Robbery, and the BBC are hosting a two-part documentary on the events. However, it is unlikely to cover the 1,000 GBP per week taxpayers paid for Great Train Robber, Biggs’ care.
By Alexandria Ingham