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Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Biggs: a life on the run

After 35 years on the run, Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has given himself up. BBC News Online recalls some of the key moments in the life of one of Britain's most notorious villains.


8 May 2001

Michael Biggs breaks down in tears
Michael Biggs breaks down in tears

Michael Biggs, the son of the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, broke down in tears during a news conference as he told journalists how his father had returned to the UK against the advice of family and friends.

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7 May 2001

Ronnie Biggs is led into a police van on his way to court
Under arrest again after 35 years on the run

Police boarded the plane which brought Ronnie Biggs back to the UK and within minutes of landing he was back under arrest. After a brief court appearance, he was sent to Belmarsh prison. Biggs can now hardly speak after suffering a series of strokes. His lawyers say he is seeking an appeal against the remaining 28 years of his sentence.

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3 May 2001

The Sun - May 3rd 2001
The Sun broke the news

The Sun newspaper reports that Ronnie Biggs is ready to give himself up to the police. In an e-mail to the head of the Flying Squad, Biggs says he has had enough of life on the run and wants to come home "to have a pint in a Margate pub".

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August 1997

Ronnie Biggs in 1997
Biggs is a popular figure in Brazil

After 35 years living in Brazil, Ronnie Biggs' time in the sun looked to be coming to an end in 1997 when a new extradition treaty between Brazil and Britain meant his refugee status was jeopardised for the first time. Peter Gould reports.

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July 1997

Ronnie Biggs in 1997
Ronnie Biggs interviewed in 1997

Shortly before Britain signed its extradition pact with Brazil, Ronnie Biggs spoke candidly with the BBC's John Simpson about the possibility of his making a return to the UK to finish the remainder of his prison sentence.

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August 1988

Mail train at Cheddington, Bucks
The mail train after the robbery in 1963

On the 25th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery the events were reconstructed for television. Relatives of the driver who was attacked in the robbery complain that the gang members have been turned into heroes.

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July 1985

Ronnie Biggs in 1985
Biggs celebrates 20 years on the run

Biggs has used his notoriety to sustain his income in Brazil. Notably he recorded a song with the Sex Pistols and courted media attention to maintain his high profile on the run. In 1985 he organised a celebration to mark 20 years as a fugitive from justice.

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December 1981

Nowcani II at Bridgetown harbour
The gang was arrested in Barbados

Several attempts have been made to bring Biggs home. In 1981 a group of self-styled "security experts" staged a kidnap operation aimed at capturing Biggs. Their efforts were foiled by the Brazilian police who arrested Biggs and the men behind the plot.

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March 1981

Buster Edwards
Buster Edwards; train robber turned flower seller

Although Biggs has become the most notorious of the train robbers, when the crime was committed in 1963 he was the junior member of the gang. Fellow robber Buster Edwards recalled Biggs in 1981.

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