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Great Train Robbery mastermind Bruce Reynolds dies aged 81

By Emcfarnon  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

  • Bruce Reynolds evaded capture for five years but was imprisoned in 1968

  • Reynolds went on to write a memoir, The Autobiography of a Thief

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Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery in 1963, has died aged 81.

Reynolds, who evaded capture for five years by fleeing overseas, died in the early hours of Thursday, his son told the BBC.

The £2.6 million heist - the largest robbery in British history at the time - took place in the early hours of August 8, 1963, at a railway bridge in Buckinghamshire.

Reynolds and 16 associates ambushed the Glasgow to Euston Royal Mail train transporting the equivalent of more than £40 million today.

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After bringing the train to a stop near Cheddington by changing a signal to red the gang attacked the workers on-board, striking train driver Jack Mills over the head. Mills never worked again and died in 1970.

Following the robbery Reynolds took his share of the money and fled to Mexico on a false passport, where he was joined by his wife Angela and son.

From there they moved to Canada, but when the cash ran out they returned to England.

Watch a Sky News interview with Reynolds here:

Using an alias he headed for Devon where he had holidayed as a child. He and his family lived a ‘normal’ life until his cover was finally blown when he made the mistake of returning to his old haunts in London.

He was captured in Torquay in 1968 and sentenced to a 25-year jail term. He spent 10 years in prison.

Reynolds, who was jailed again in the 1980s for three years for dealing amphetamines, worked briefly as a consultant on a film about the robbery, Buster.

The “old crook” went on to write a memoir, The Autobiography of a Thief, in 1995, which has been described as one of the most enlightening true-crime books ever published.

In his later years he lived in Croydon, Surrey, and suffered from increasingly poor health before his death.

His son Nick, a musician with the band Alabama 3, said: “I can confirm that he has passed away and he died in his sleep. He hadn't been well for a few days and I was looking after him.”

His death comes just months before the 50th anniversary of the infamous 1963 crime.

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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