The Great Train Robber was on the run for 36 years, after he and his gang stole a then-record haul of £2.6million (more than £40million today) from a Royal Mail train.

The 15-member gang staged the heist on August 8, 1963 as the train passed through Buckinghamshire. The driver was struck by a metal bar and later died from the injuries.

Biggs evaded the police for decades after he managed to escape from prison just 15 months into his 30-year sentence. He escaped to Australia and later Brazil, where he was tracked down, but avoided being extradited under a Brazilian law that protected him because he had a son in the country.

When Biggs eventually returned to Britain in 2001 he spent eight years in jail, but due to ill health was given compassionate bail by Jack Straw and was transferred to a care home in North London.

When Biggs’ death was announced, general secretary of the train drivers’ union, Mick Whelan, said: “While, naturally, we feel sorry for Mr Biggs’s family at this time, we have always regarded Biggs as a nonentity, and a criminal, who took part in a violent robbery which resulted in the death of a train driver.”

The Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association tweeted: “In case today’s media confuses you: attacking railway staff with an iron bar to the extent they’re barely able to work again really isn’t OK.”

Image credit: Espresso TV/YouTube