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Great Train Robber dies

Bruce Reynolds, pictured in 2003. Credit: Matthew Fearn/PA Wire

Bruce Reynolds - the man who claimed to be the mastermind of the Great Train Robbery - has died just months before the 50th anniversary of one of Britain's most infamous crimes. He was 81.

Reynolds, who was born in London, fled to Mexico immediately after the robbery. Five years later, he was caught after returning to England and jailed for 25 years - but served nine.

The robbery took place in Buckinghamshire in August 1963.The gang held up the Royal Mail travelling post office, which ran between Glasgow and London.They stole more than two and a half million pounds - the equivalent of 40-million pounds today.

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Train heist proved a curse for mastermind Reynolds

Bruce Reynolds (centre) with six of the Great Train Robbery gang in 1979. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Bruce Reynolds said he wanted to "make his mark" when masterminding the Great Train Robbery - but said the infamous heist became his curse in later life.

Using inside information on the movement of valuables, the antiques dealer assembled a gang to raid a night train in Buckinghamshire in August 1963, with the group making off with £2.5 million in used bank notes.

The eventual death of train driver Jack Mills further blackened the heist.

While co-conspirator Ronnie Biggs spent nearly four decades on the run after escaping from prison in 1964, Reynolds evaded capture for five years, spending time in Mexico and Canada, before returning to England.

He was captured in Torquay in 1968 and jailed for 25 years but was released in 1978, alone and penniless.

Reynolds spent another three years in prison in the 1980s for dealing amphetamines.

He later said his part in the 1963 crime meant no-one wanted to employ him, legally or illegally.

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Reynolds became infamous star after 1963 train heist

Bruce Reynolds was jailed in 1968 for 25 years for his part in 1963's infamous train heist, but was released in 1978. Credit: PA/PA Archive
He and fellow conspirator Buster Edwards soon capitalised on their notoriety with a book launch. Credit: PA/PA Archive
The pair were reunited again in 1990 for the funeral of the robbers' "treasurer" Charlie Wilson, who was shot dead in Spain. Credit: Tony Harris/PA Archive