Ronnie Biggs, one of the members of the gang who executed The Great Train Robbery of 1963, got plastic surgery to disguise his appearance while on the run. The gang got convicted of robbery and arrested later on in 1964. But only Ronnie Biggs escaped. After the escape, he distorted his face with plastic surgery, literally getting a new face so he would be unrecognizable, and he also acquired a new identity on paper.
Do you know what makes the weirdest celebrity? Criminals. That's right. Criminals. You would just be shocked by the curiosity and obsession people have about them. But some of them are the stuff of theatric nightmares that could have been pulled from crime movies into real life which just makes them irresistible to people. Think of serial killers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.
Now, do you know of Ronnie Biggs? He wasn't a serial killer like them but he did create a lot of chaos when he, along with other 14 accomplices, robbed a Royal Main train and made off with £2.6 million (equivalent to around £57 million in today’s money) in 1963 when he himself just played a minor role in it. Granted, the heist was a botched one because of his incompetency due to which they got caught later on but people were shocked and maybe even awed by the magnitude of the crime. I mean, robbing not a regular train but a Royal Mail train and stealing that huge amount of money.
He accomplished the despicable task which is now known as The Great Train Robbery with 14 other people but he is the only one that has achieved something of a celebrity status. Well, it's infamy but the point is Ronnie Biggs is known. And you know why that is? Because he not only looted and get caught like the rest of them but also avoided doing his time when he made an escape from prison like his life was some author's fantasy. He lived as a fugitive for 36 years which means he led the cops on a wild goose chase for more than three decades.
The robber went to great lengths to not get caught and live life on his own terms. He did various provoking and enraging publicity stunts while in his exile. He fled the country, ditched his whole identity, and got another one. Not just on paper, he also literally changed who he was, like for real. He got plastic surgery to change his face and look like, well, not himself. This remains, to this day, one of the most extra things he has done to protect himself from a life in prison. Let's talk about Ronnie Biggs' plastic surgery!
Ronnie Biggs' Plastic Surgery: He Distorted His Face with Cosmetic Surgery in Paris!
So, yeah, Ronnie Biggs got plastic surgery. If you don't know the whole context, you might be wondering what made a lowlife robber think about getting cosmetic procedures. I mean, it's not every day we dissect what procedures a thief has had. But you know it really makes sense that he changed himself when you hear his full story.
So, in 1963, a gang of robbers with Ronnie Biggs only playing a minor role, masterminded by a thug named Bruce Reynolds pulled off a heist like none other when they stopped the Glasgow-Euston overnight mail train and looted £2.6 million ($4.75 million), an amount equivalent to £40 million today. It was the biggest robbery of its time that was inescapable because of the magnitude of the crime (they chose to rob a Royal Mail train).
They would have been able to dodge justice if it wasn't for the incompetency of Ronnie Biggs. As the gang divided the loot at nearby Leatherslade Farm which Biggs was supposed to burn down later on to destroy any evidence, he failed to do his share of the work which subsequently led to his arrest. The cops traced his fingerprints found on a tomato sauce bottle to him in South London and arrested him from there. The other gang members had kept their gloves on, it was him that was the downfall because he didn't think to not leave his prints. While he did not exercise caution when it was most vital, he did later on get plastic surgery as a preventative measure.
Ronnie Biggs got plastic surgery to alter his appearance while on the run.
Image Source: The Guardian
In 1964, the robbers were convicted of the robbery and then jailed for the crime with most receiving sentences of 30 years. Well, that life of imprisonment for the next three decades was not acceptable to Ronnie Biggs and he made an escape which, fortunately for him, and unfortunately for justice, worked. He served only 15 months of his time and then fled. He escaped from Wandsworth Prison by scaling the wall with a rope ladder and dropping onto a waiting removal fan which took him away. You know what he did next? Got plastic surgery.
Ronnie Biggs made his way to Europe and because he knew he couldn't be on the run forever. hoping that nobody would be able to identify that and he could live peacefully without cops on his tail all the time, he got plastic surgery to disguise himself. It's so ridiculous and extra and it's funny to think he could have avoided all of it if it wasn't for his stupidity of leaving his fingerprints behind. But there he was.
Ronnie Biggs spent £40,000 on plastic surgery.
Image Source: The New York Times
Ronnie Biggs got £40,000 (about £750k today) worth of plastic surgery to disguise his appearance and not look like himself while he was in Paris. He not only acquired a new identity on paper but he literally got a new face. Then he spent a life as a fugitive for the next 36 years. He went to Australia and lived there for about six years before he made his way to Brazil where he spent the rest of his life as a fugitive on the run. He returned to the UK in 2001 in ill health.
Now, not much is known about the plastic surgery that Ronnie Biggs underwent to disguise herself. But, looking at the picture of him in which he was happily posing for the camera while he was on the run in 1970 - on a cruise liner in Brazil - we can tell that he had some fillers because his cheek appeared a lot puffier and his face seemed distorted with the cosmetic operation. People could only tell it was him because of his cheeky grin.
Ronnie Biggs really managed to make his life by distorting his face with plastic surgery.