Page last updated at 19:29 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 20:29 UK

In Pictures: A life on the run

Portrait of Ronnie Biggs

It is more than 45 years since the Great Train Robbers stole millions of pounds from a mail train - but one of the thieves, Ronnie Biggs, pictured in the 1970s, has been in the news ever since.

Train carriage from the Great Train Robbery

The gang of 15 masked men, which included Biggs, stole 120 bags containing 2.6m from a mail train at Cheddington, Buckinghamshire. Most of the robbers were captured soon afterwards.

Biggs's escape van

Biggs's 1965 escape from Wandsworth Prison - by using a rope ladder and jumping through the roof of a removals van on to mattresses - boosted his profile from a bit-part player to a celebrity fugitive.

Ronald Biggs, with his Brazilian girlfriend Raimunda Nascimento de Castro

Biggs fled abroad with wife Charmian and two sons, living in Spain and Australia. He moved to Brazil where he fathered a son with Brazilian girlfriend, and later wife, Raimunda de Castro (pictured).

Ronnie Biggs with singer Shaun Ryder

He became an infamous counter-cultural figure. In 1978 Biggs recorded No One is Innocent for punk rockers The Sex Pistols. Here he is pictured in 1990 with Shaun Ryder from the Happy Mondays.

Det Ch Supt Jack Slipper

Scotland Yard detective Jack Slipper spent his career trying to bring Biggs to justice. Det Ch Supt Slipper nonetheless later admitted he had a sneaking admiration for Biggs.

Ronnie Biggs (left) on his way back to Britain in 2001

But as Biggs's health began to fail, he started to long for a return to Britain. The Sun reported him as saying: "My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter."

Ronnie Biggs's plane returning to the UK

Biggs suffered several strokes and in 2001 flew back to the UK in a private jet paid for by the Sun newspaper. More than 30 years after escaping from Wandsworth Prison, he returned to face justice.

Police taking Biggs to Belmarsh Prison

Biggs surrendered to police as soon as he stepped off the plane. Just hours later, after a brief court appearance, he was behind bars at high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London.

Michael Biggs

Ronnie Biggs's son, Michael, campaigned for his father's release on compassionate grounds. Biggs is severely ill in hospital with pneumonia and doctors have said there is "not much hope" for him.

Ronnie Biggs

Biggs, pictured in 2001, was held at Norwich Prison until June when he was taken to hospital. He has now been released from prison by Justice Secretary Jack Straw on compassionate grounds.

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Timeline: Ronnie Biggs
06 Aug 09 |  UK
Profile: Ronnie Biggs
06 Aug 09 |  UK

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