13,068 days on the run

12.03.2007, 23:00

Ronald Arthur Biggs, known commonly as Ronnie Biggs, was born in1929 in London´s East End. He is known for being involved in the Great Train Robbery in 1963. Despite being a rather minor figure in the actual robbery, Ronnie Biggs, the self-styled "gentleman criminal" who eluded capture for decades, may have gained the most popularity from it.
In August 1963 Biggs, together with other gang-members, stole £2.6 million from a a mail train. He was arrested a month later and in January 1964 he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. After serving only 15 months, however, he made a daring escape from Wandsworth Prison in south London, thus beginning 35 years on the run.
First Biggs fled to Paris, where he acquired new identity papers and received plastic surgery changing his appearance. Later, in1970 he moved to Adelaide, South Australia. But he was recognised by a reporter and so he fled to Melbourne. Finally he decided to go to South America where he eventually settled in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Biggs allegedly had only £200 left when he arrived in Brazil. His wife, Charmian, and two sons stayed behind in Australia. He became a kind of a media celebrity and a folk hero, and "Ronnie Biggs" mugs, coffee cups and t-shirts soon started to flood tourist souvenir shops throughout Rio.
In 1974 he was found by the British police in Rio de Janeiro, but he could not be extradicted because his current girlfriend was pregnant and Brazilian law would not allow extradiction of a parent of a Brazilian child. As a result, Biggs was able to live openly in Brazil, completely untouchable by the British authorities. 
Supposedly, Biggs returned to the UK several times during the making of a documentary about the Great Train Robbery, always in disguise. In 1981 hes was kidnapped by a gang of adventurers who managed to smuggle him to Barbados hoping to collect some reward from the British police. The coup was discovered, though, and Biggs made use of legal loopholes to have himself sent back to Brazil.
In 2001 Biggs, aged 71, announced to The Sun newspaper that he would be willing to return to the UK. Unable to speak after a second stroke in 1999, he announced he wanted to end his days in England. "I am a sick man," Biggs told the Sun in an interview conducted on paper through his son Michael. "My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter." It was widely speculated that he was nearly broke at that time, and was giving himself up at last to get free medical care.
Being fully aware of the fact that he would be detained upon arrival in the UK, in May 2001 Ronald Biggs, one of Britain's most notorious villains, returned voluntarily to Britain. He was immediately arrested and re-imprisoned for his crimes. His trip back to the UK on a private jet was paid by The Sun, which is said to have paid Michael Biggs £20,000 plus other expenses in return for exclusive rights on the news story. Ronald Biggs had 28 years of his sentence left to serve. Since his return his health has been deteriorating.  In November 2001 and in October 2005 his solicitors´ petitions for release on compassionate grounds based on his ill health were denied.

Answer the following questions according to the information in the text.

1. Did Biggs become popular because he played an important role in the Great Train Robbery?
2. Was he in prison shortly after the Great Train Robbery?
3. Did his appearance change before he arrived to Australia?
4. Was he still rich when he arrived to Brazil?
5. Did the Brazilian law prevent the British police from bringing Biggs back to Britain?
6. Did Biggs apply to be released from prison?

YES – 2, 3, 5, 6, No – 1, 4




Early one morning in August 1963, the Glasgow - London
mail train 1/(stop) by robbers. The engine and the first
two coaches 2/(disconnect) and 3/(drive) to a lonely bridge
over a road where lorries 4/(wait).
The men 5/(work) fast for a hundred and thirty
bags had 6/(load) on the lorries. There were over
two and a half million pounds in one - pound and five - pound
notes in them.

For weeks people in Britain 7/(talk) about nothing
but the train robbery. They 8/(shock) 9/(hear) how little 10/(do)
11/(protect) the money. 12/(avoid) prison, the gang
members 13/(flee) to all corners of the globe.
Of course the police 14/(make) every effort 15/(find) the money
and 16/ (catch) the robbers. In the end most robbers
17/(arrest) and some of the money 18/(find). This robbery 19/(still
remember) as "The Great Train Robbery".


1/ was stopped, 2/ were disconnected, 3/ driven, 4/ were waiting, 5/ were
working, 6/ to be loaded, 7/ were talking, 8/ were shocked, 9/ to hear,
10/ had been done, 11/ to protect, 12/ to avoid, 13/fled, 14/made, 15/ to find,
16/ to catch,17/ were arrested, 18/ was found, 19/is still remembered


COMMONLY CONFUSED WORDS alebo slová, ktoré si často mýlime

life [laif =   život  Their life was very hard.
lives [laivz]  =  životy Many lives were lost.
to live [liv] =  žiť  Where do you live?
he/she/it lives [livz] =  žije  She lives in Prague.
live [laiv] =   živý t. j. funkčný, na živo a live wire/bomb/transmission/target
alive [ə´laiv] =  živý t. j. žijúci, na žive, žijúci, pri živote to be/stay alive
lively [laivly] =   živý t. j. plný života, energie, temperamentý, čulý
a lively child/city/discussion/interest

nice =   sympatický  They are very nice.
pretty =  pekná (o žene) She is very pretty and nice.
handsome =  pekný (o mužovi) He is very handsome and nice.
sympathetic =  súcitný 
They were very sympathetic about my situation.

Running or taking part in a business meeting

Partial agreement II/Čiastočný súhlas II
By and large I would accept your view (s) but … - V princípe/zásade akceptujem Váš názor, ale ...
Although I agree with most of what you have said I find it difficult to agree with your point about ….
 - Hoci súhlasím s väčšinou toho, čo ste povedali, je pre mňa ťažké súhlasiť s Vašim názorom na ...
I would tend to agree with you on ... - Asi by som súhlasil s Vami v ...
I agree on the whole but it could be said that ... - Vcelku súhlasím, ale bolo by možné povedať ...
Asking for agreement/Zisťovanie súhlasu
I am just wondering/wonder if ... - Len by som chcel vedieť, či ...
I am just interested to know if ... - Len ma zaujíma, či ...
Wouldn’t you agree that ...? -Nesúhlasili by ste, že ...
Surely you’d admit that/with...  - Iste by ste súhlasili, že/s  ...
Isn’t it/ Might it not also be + (also) true that/to say that ...? - Nie je/Nemohlo by byť  tiež pravda, že ...?
Don’t you think that ...? - Nemyslíte, že ...?
Can you imagine ..../-ing? - Dokážete si predstaviť ...?

Disagreement I/Nesúhlas I
Some phrases to start with
(I am) sorry, but/I am afraid/Well, as a matter of fact,/Actually,/In fact,/Well, + ......
I (have to) disagree … - Nesúhlasím (Musím nesúhlasiť)  ...
I can’t agree with you on ... (at all). - Nemôžem (vôbec) súhlasiť s Vami v... .
I’m not (very) keen on .... - Nie som veľmi nadšený .... 
I can’t accept/take your point of view. - Nemôžem akceptovať Váš názor.
I can’t go along with you here/there/on that/this. - V tomto/tom nemôžem sa Vami súhlasiť.    
I’m not convinced. - Nepresvedčili ste ma. = Nie som presvedčený.
Well, I don’t think so. - Nemyslím si to.   
You aren’t right in what you say. - V tom, čo hovoríte, nemáte pravdu.
I don’t see why not/why (I couldn’t) ... - Nechápem,  prečo by (som nemohol) ...  
Well not really. - Vlaste nie.     
(Perhaps) not quite so. - (Možno) celkom nie.
There’s no evidence for it. - Nie sú o tom žiadne dôkazy.    
I don’t believe it at all. - Vôbec tomu neverím.    
That just isn’t/can’t be true. - To nie je/nemôže byť pravda.
That needn’t be true (at all).- To nemusí byť (vôbec) pravda   
It’s most unlikely. - To je veľmi nepravdepodobné.
I find it difficult to agree/… - Považujem za ťažké = Je mi ťažko súhlasiť/...



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02. október 2023 01:30