I was sitting in my Mark Lodge this week listening to a quite interesting talk/lecture about famous Freemasons and some conspiracy theories that have abounded at various times. It was at the end of the talk that an elder statesman of the lodge - a joining member from the London area recounted the following tale - which I have no reason to believe to be untrue - he is a retired policeman from the London area - probably Met - I did not check - but certainly CID background....
How Ronnie Biggs was caught
Ronnie Biggs was one of the Great Train robbers and the one who managed to escape and keep his head down for years.
Buckinghamshire Constabulary mug-shot, 1964
|Born||Ronald Arthur Biggs|
8 August 1929
Stockwell, Lambeth, London, England
|Died||18 December 2013 (aged 84)|
Barnet, London, England
|Known for||The Great Train Robbery of 1963|
|Spouse(s)||Charmian Powell (1960–1976, divorced)|
Raimunda de Castro (2002–2013, his death)
|Conviction(s)||1947: robbery of a chemist shop, dishonorably dischargedon charges of desertion|
1950: car theft, prison
1955: failed robbery of a bookmaker, prison
1963: Conspiracy, armed robbery, obstructing justice and receiving stolen goods, 30 years in prison, served 10 years (1963–1965; 2001–2009), released on compassionate grounds
|Partner(s)||Bruce Reynolds, Buster Edwards, Charlie Wilson, Gordon Goody, Jimmy Hussey, Tommy Wisbey, John Wheater, Jimmy White, and Brian Field|
Time at large
|35 years, 10 months|
|Escaped||8 July 1965|
|Escape end||7 May 2001|
Ronald Arthur Biggs (8 August 1929 – 18 December 2013) was one of the men who planned and carried out the Great Train Robbery of 1963.
He subsequently became notorious for his escape from prison in 1965, living as a fugitive for 36 years, and for his various publicity stunts while in exile. In 2001, he returned to the United Kingdom and spent several years in prison, where his health rapidly declined. Biggs was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2009 and died in a nursing home in December 2013.
So - Biggs lived a charmed life, and for a long time managed to stay in Rio de Janeiro because there was no extradition treaty - but when he was hidden from the world apparently the following happened..
A Young detective sergeant was on holiday and enjoying himself with no thoughts of police work - indeed he found that there was a local lodge and decided to go and join the various ex-patriots n the lodge for a quiet evening.
Enjoying the company and the festive board he was chatting with his new friends when the conversation came around to one of the members needing some work done in his apartment. Another suggested "Ronny" who was good at carpentry and general do-it-yourself and not expensive - who was in need of a few bob and "did a good job"...
Conversation continued and the local "chat" was that "Ronny" was on the run and could well be wanted for the Great Train Robbery....
The DS had a quick think and suggested that he may need some help for his own apartment and did anyone have any contact details?
They did and the next couple of days - "Ronny" came to have a look at what needed doing - and the DS found a job or two for him to do... But more important gave him a cup of coffee! After drinking his coffee and leaving - the DS carefully wrapped the coffee cup and took the cup back for fingerprint analysis back home -
The prints proved that Ronny was Ronald Arthur Biggs and so the steps to extradite started ...
I don't know if it is true - but it sounds crazy enough to be true...
So - chalk one up for Fremasonry and Fellowship - though not the way the conspiracy theorists normally present it...
Another snippet that came out was that the last victim of the Ripper in London was a lass who was born and raised in Carmarthen in Belle view... another Freemonsry Conspiracy theory!!
Mary Jane Kelly
Mary Jane Kelly A.K.A.. Marie Jeanette Kelly, Mary Ann Kelly, Ginger, Fair Emma
Mary Jane Kelly was approximately 25 years old at the time of her death which would place her birth around 1863. She was 5' 7" tall and stout. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. "Said to have been possessed of considerable personal attractions."
She was last seen wearing a linsey frock and a red shawl pulled around her shoulders. She was bare headed. Detective Constable Walter Dew claimed to know Kelly well by sight and says that she was attractive and paraded around, usually in the company of two or three friends. He says she always wore a spotlessly clean white apron.
Maria Harvey, a friend, says that she was "much superior to that of most persons in her position in life."
It is also said that she spoke fluent Welsh.
Joseph Barnett says that he "always found her of sober habits."
Landlord John McCarthy says "When in liquor she was very noisy; otherwise she was a very quiet woman."
Caroline Maxwell says that she "was not a notorious character."
Catherine Pickett claims "She was a good, quiet, pleasant girl, and was well liked by all of us."
Almost everything that is known about Mary Jane Kelly comes from Joseph Barnett, who lived with her just prior to the murder. He, of course, had all this information from Kelly herself. Some is conflicting and it may be suspected that some, or perhaps much of it, is embellished.
She was born in Limerick, Ireland but we do not know if that refers to the county or the town. As a young child she moved with her family to Wales.
Her father was John Kelly who worked in an iron works in Carmarthenshire. Mary Jane claims to have 6 or 7 brothers and one sister. She says that one brother, Henry, whose nickname is Johnto is a member of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. As a member of this battalion he would have been stationed in Dublin, Ireland. She also claims to Lizzie Albrook that she had a relative on the London stage.
John McCarthy, landlord at Miller's Court, states that she received a letter from her mother in Ireland. Barnett says that she never corresponded with her family.
Joseph Barnett and Mrs. Carthy, a woman with whom she lived at one time, say that she came from a family that was "fairly well off" (Barnett) and "well to do people" (Carthy). Mrs. Carthy also states that Kelly was "an excellent scholar and an artist of no mean degree."
Mrs. Carthy is the landlady from Breezer's Hill, Ratcliffe Highway. Barnett refers to her house as "a bad house."
c. 1879: At the age of 16 she marries a collier named Davies. He is killed in an explosion two or three years later. There is a suggestion that there might have been a child in this marriage.
Kelly moves to Cardiff and lives with a cousin and works as a prostitute. The Cardiff police have no record of her. She says she was ill and spent the best part of the time in an infirmary.
She arrives in London in 1884.
Apparently her family were well known in Carmarthen....