The Great Escape: How Ronnie Biggs Outsmarted Prison Walls and Became a Fugitive Legend


The Great Escape: How Ronnie Biggs Outsmarted Prison Walls and Became a Fugitive Legend

The LIFE of England's BIGGEST ROBBER Ronnie Biggs

Ronald Biggs, a name synonymous with audacious crime and daring escapes, etched his story onto the pages of British infamy with the infamous Great Train Robbery of 1963. However, it was his audacious escape from Wandsworth Prison two years later that truly cemented his status as a folk hero and fugitive extraordinaire.

Biggs, along with the “Gentlemen Thieves” of the heist, had pulled off a meticulously planned robbery, netting over £2.6 million (a staggering £44 million in today’s money). He was sentenced to 30 years behind bars, but freedom gnawed at him like a persistent itch. In 1965, that itch turned into a full-blown breakout plan.

The escape, worthy of a Hollywood heist film, involved meticulous planning and audacious execution. Biggs befriended fellow inmates, including the resourceful Eric Flower, who smuggled in tools and materials. They constructed a 40-foot rope ladder, disguised as a washing line, and modified a furniture removal van to hide a collapsible tower that could reach the prison wall.

On a sunny July afternoon, opportunity struck. During exercise time, the guards’ view was momentarily blocked. Seizing the chance, Biggs and his accomplices scaled the wall using the ladder, clambered onto the waiting tower in the van, and disappeared into the London sprawl.

Biggs’ escape sent shockwaves through Britain. Manhunts were launched, headlines screamed, and the public was captivated by the sheer audacity of it all. Biggs, meanwhile, was on the run. He crisscrossed Europe, undergoing plastic surgery and assuming new identities. He even recorded a song with the Sex Pistols, “No One Is Innocent,” further solidifying his anti-establishment image.

For 36 years, Biggs evaded capture, living a life of luxury and notoriety in Brazil. He partied with celebrities, gave interviews, and even wrote an autobiography. However, the pull of home eventually proved too strong. In 2001, he returned to Britain, a frail and ailing man, and was promptly arrested. He served several years in prison before being released on compassionate grounds in 2009.

Ronald Biggs died in 2013, leaving behind a legacy of crime, daring, and a touch of Robin Hood-esque charm. His escape from Wandsworth Prison remains a testament to human ingenuity and the enduring allure of the outlaw spirit. Whether you view him as a criminal mastermind or a mischievous rogue, there’s no denying that Ronnie Biggs’ story is one for the ages.

So, what made Biggs’ escape so successful?

  • Meticulous planning: The escape was meticulously planned for months, with every detail accounted for, from acquiring tools to modifying the van.
  • Exploiting opportunity: Biggs and his accomplices seized the perfect moment when the guards’ view was momentarily blocked.
  • Aiding hand: Biggs had the help of resourceful accomplices like Eric Flower, who played crucial roles in the escape.
  • A touch of luck: Despite the planning, a dash of luck was also needed, such as the guards not noticing the escape attempt sooner.

Biggs’ escape from Wandsworth Prison may be a relic of the past, but it continues to capture the imagination. It’s a story of a man who outsmarted the system, defied authority, and lived life on his own terms, even if it meant living as a fugitive. And in that sense, Ronald Biggs’ legend will likely live on for generations to come.


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