When a crime is committed, it tends to have the media’s full attention. But what about after justice has been served (or hasn’t, in some cases)? What became of some of history’s most notorious characters? Let’s find out.
The Great Train Robbery remains one of the most notorious crimes ever to be committed in Great Britain, and the after-story is just as intriguing as the theft itself.
In 1963, as many as 15 men teamed together to steal what would have been an estimated equivalent of £48 million today. Interestingly, whilst those who targeted the Royal Mail train were brought to justice, a large portion of the money wasn’t recovered.
It was found that the mastermind behind the crime received a sizeable amount though little was known about this figure, other than his nickname, “The Ulsterman”.
That was until 2014, when a train robber involved in the crime, Gordon Goody, disclosed the true identity of The Ulsterman; he was actually a postal worker called Patrick McKenna. Goody revealed that he discovered the name behind the face after McKenna dropped the case for his glasses, with a name scribbled inside.
What’s more interesting is that when McKenna was tracked down, he didn’t boast a life of luxury. In fact, he hardly lived any better than he had before, and when he passed away, only £3,000 was found in his bank account in comparison to the millions he was estimated to have.
Whilst Goody believed his share might have been taken from him by another train robber, others think it is more likely he would have made financial donations to the Catholic Church.
After being in and out of jail for a couple of years, in an attempt to sort his ways, Charles Ponzi made a profit on international reply coupons, starting in 1918. Building a company from the ground up, Ponzi promised immense outcomes, only to be caught having scammed as much as $20 million out of his investors.
This wasn’t the end of the road for his sly actions though, as after being released from prison in 1924, he escaped a further seven years by heading to Florida. Here, Ponzi began a fake scheme in real estate, only to be caught not long after.
Avoiding more time in jail, he feigned suicide and tried to return to Italy, where he was born. By this point though, his face was too well-known.
Ponzi did his time before being sent to Italy, where his fraudulent actions continued with attempted smuggling at an airline and claiming benefits despite making his own money in education, before passing away in 1949.
Jack the Ripper
Most of us are familiar with the grisly tale of Jack the Ripper in London’s East End, where he carried out gruesome murders and left behind little-to-no solid trail as to his identity.
Perhaps the most mysterious on this list, following the killing of what is believed to be the final one of the canonical five victims, the Ripper inexplicably disappeared without a trace.
Whilst some believe he may have committed suicide due to being haunted by his crimes, others think he may have been caught for another offence.
What do you believe happened to Jack the Ripper? To find out more about this slice of the capital’s dark history, book yourself on one of www.thejacktherippertour.com tours today.
Richard Cobb – has written 208 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.