Ronnie Biggs, London

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie Biggs (born Ronald Arthur Biggs on 8 August 1929 in London) is an English gangster famous for his participation on 8 August 1963 in "The Great Train Robbery", the famous flight of the contents of the mail train London-Glasgow: 125 bags banknotes.

The coup of the century
This "coup of the century" is £ 2.6 million, the equivalent of about $ 68 million today. Biggs sees itself as the last "gentleman burglar" and says with pride that he started stealing from the age of 14 years. A flight of pencils in a bookstore earned him his first arrest at age 15. It is also known for having sung on two tracks of the Sex Pistols.

After the legendary attack of the mail train, most of the band members were arrested, and Biggs was sentenced to thirty years imprisonment. After fifteen months of detention, he managed to escape from prison Wansworth passing a wall eight meters with a rope ladder. He took refuge in Paris, where he changed the face using plastic surgery and acquired new identity papers. A little later, in 1970 he settled quietly in Adelaide in southern Australia. While working on building sets for the television station Channel 10, a journalist acknowledged. He takes refuge in Melbourne and the same year, leaving Australia to Brazil, leaving behind his wife Charmian and two son. It becomes, for over thirty years of his life, a high-profile fugitive even though his role was limited in the "Great Train Robbery."

Leak in Rio de Janeiro
It is virtually penniless in 1970 he arrived in Rio. Without a work permit and forced to travel twice a week at the Commission, Biggs finally sold his image. Being highly paid to give interviews to the foreign press and posing for photos with tourists. In 1974 the British police found in Rio de Janeiro, but the English justice can not be extradited because the UK does not accept reciprocity of extradition with Brazil, a prerequisite for the Brazilian process of extradition. In addition, his new companion (Raimunda de Castro, a dancer in a nightclub and a prostitute) was pregnant and the Brazilian law does not allow a parent of a Brazilian child to be extradited. No longer fearing the British, Biggs leads a public life without complex. Although his criminal status prevents it from working, he is not shy to defy Scotland Yard: for 50, then $ 60, tourists can participate in a barbecue in the garden of his house and buy T-shirts which is inscribed: "I was in Rio and met Biggs ... That's true. "Biggs would have still made several times in England under a false identity for the filming of a documentary on the" Great Train Robbery."

Career in show business
At this time he performs two songs as a singer for The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle, a film by Malcolm McLaren on the Sex Pistols. The recordings of No One Is Innocent and Belsen Was a Gas take place in a studio with Brazilian guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook shortly after the last concert of the Sex Pistols. Other tracks were recorded later in the United Kingdom and the single No One Is Innocent lives and quickly became number 6 in sales. The cover shows Martin Bormann on bass while it is in fact the American actor James Jeter who played on the recording.

Following the extradition attempt, Ronnie worked with the American bassist Bruce Henry, Jaime Shields and Aureo de Souza to record Mailbag Blues, an album telling his life that he had intended to use as the basis for a movie musical. This album was reissued in 2004 by

In 1981 Biggs is kidnapped by a network of criminals who manage to take him to Barbados. They hope to negotiate a ransom with the British police. The coup is not working and Biggs found legal means to reach Brazil.

The Brazilian son of Ronnie, Michael Biggs, brings new revenue to his father by becoming a member of Turma do Balao Magico ", a group of children singing for" Balao Magico ", which was a huge success in Brazil. Fairly quickly, the group dissolves and forgotten, which pushes Biggs in a difficult financial situation.

In 1991, Biggs sings the song for Carnival In Rio (Punk Was) with the German group Die Toten Hosen.

Back in the United Kingdom and arrest
In 2001 Biggs announced to The Sun newspaper he intends to return to the United Kingdom. The year was difficult after three strokes, his health is worrying and it can no longer bear the medical expenses. Biggs confides when he wants to "drink a beer in a pub in the seaside resort of Margate, his hometown.

Biggs was aware that he will be jailed upon his arrival in England but nevertheless decides to return on 7 May 2001, he was 71 years. His private jet travel is financed entirely by the newspaper The Sun, which also offers 20 000 books to his son Michael in exchange for complete exclusivity on the history of Biggs. After a brief appearance at mid-day before a court in West London, Biggs was transferred to the high security prison Belmarsh (south-east London). It remains to Biggs twenty-eight years to be served. He refuses a reduction of penalty despite having suffered two heart attacks since his return.

In November 2001, Biggs launched a petition in order to obtain an early release, citing his health problems. It undergoes four hospitalizations in six months in hospital Queen Elizabeth of Woolwish. His health is deteriorating rapidly and he asked to be allowed to live with his son so that he could treat him. His request was rejected.

In August 2005, one learns that Biggs has contracted a rather serious form of staphylococcus. His lawyers, seeking compassion instances of release, say that the death of their client could be imminent. Currently, Biggs needs a respirator and had great difficulty expressing themselves.

In July 2009, Jack Straw, the then Minister of British justice, refused his application for parole. On 6 August 2009, the Minister Jack Straw announced that Biggs be allowed out of prison for health reasons.

Read also Jack the Ripper

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