Entertainment‎ > ‎

Family, Friends And Hell's Angels Arrive For Ronnie Biggs Funeral

posted 3 Jan 2014, 10:22 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 3 Jan 2014, 10:23 ]

Hell's Angels motorcyclists along with his friends and family arrive at a north London creamatorium for the funeral of former Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs, after the British criminal turned celebrity, died last month.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JANUARY 3, 2014) (ITN) -  Ronnie Biggs, the criminal turned celebrity made famous for his part in the Great Train Robbery, made his last journey on Friday (January 3) as his hearse followed a brass band and a slew of Hell's Angels to a north London crematorium, after passing away last month.

The gadget spec URL could not be found
Photographers gathered outside Golders Green Crematorium in the British capital to capture the moment when one of the UK's most infamous criminals was laid to rest.

Family and friends were joined by a parade of the Hell's Angels motorcycle society at the crematorium on a day that saw sunshine interspersed with showers, as the coffin carrying Biggs, draped in the Union Jack and in Brazil's national flag, arrived.

Biggs, a small-time British criminal who became a celebrity during a life on the run after his role in the Great Train Robbery in 1963, died on December 18, aged 84.

He gained notoriety 50 years ago as one of a 12-member gang that ambushed a Royal Mail night train and made off with 2.6 million pounds ($4.2 million), equivalent to about 40 million pounds today. He was caught and jailed the next year.

He became the most famous of the gang after escaping from London's Wandsworth Prison in 1965, where he was serving a 30-year prison sentence, by scaling a wall with a rope ladder and spending 36 years on the run.

He used his share of the stolen money for plastic surgery and passage to Australia. He later fled to Brazilvia Panama and Venezuela.

Living in Brazil, Biggs flaunted his freedom, was photographed partying in a policeman's helmet and in exotic locations, and in 1978 recorded a song "No One is Innocent" with the British punk band the Sex Pistols.

The Great Train Robbery became one of the most celebrated events in popular memory of the 1960s, coinciding with the Profumo affair - a sex-and-spies scandal which rocked the British establishment - and the rise of the Beatles and other working-class heroes. It spawned several films.

Biggs became a folk legend to some Britons but remained an unrepentant villain to others.

After years of surviving by hosting barbecues for tourists and on royalties from his books, an ailing and broke Biggs finally surrendered to British police in 2001 and returned to prison but was freed in 2009 on health grounds.

Biggs, who was born in south London, always said he never regretted his role in the robbery although the crime involved a violent attack on the train driver.