John McVicar, 82, escaped from a top security prison in Durham 1968 leading to a nationwide manhunt. The reformed prisoner, who lived in Essex, reportedly died of a heart attack while walking his dog

Ex-bank robber John McVicar – one-time public enemy No1 whose daring jail break was made into a Roger Daltrey movie – dies penniless aged 82

  • Reformed ex-robber John McVicar died at the age of 82 ‘while walking his dog’
  • He was known to Scotland Yard as Public Enemy No1 after escaping prison twice
  • His autobiography was the basis for the film McVicar, staring Roger Daltry

A notorious ex-robber who used to be known as Public Enemy No1 by police has died of a suspected heart attack while walking his dog, it has been reported.

John McVicar, 82, escaped from a top security prison in Durham 1968 leading to a nationwide manhunt.

Throughout the 1960s the former criminal escaped twice from prison – the second time remaining at large for two years. 

The story of his escape was then made into a hit 1980’s feature film, starring The Who singer Roger Daltry.

John McVicar, 82, escaped from a top security prison in Durham 1968 leading to a nationwide manhunt. The reformed prisoner, who lived in Essex, reportedly died of a heart attack while walking his dog

John McVicar, 82, escaped from a top security prison in Durham 1968 leading to a nationwide manhunt. The reformed prisoner, who lived in Essex, reportedly died of a heart attack while walking his dog

Following his escape from prison in the 1960’s Scotland Yard called him Public Enemy No1.

On his return to jail, however, he began to reform himself, taking three A Levels Leicester jail in 1972.

In 1974, Mr McVicar wrote an autobiography which was later adapted to a screenplay about his life.

Following his release from prison on parole in 1978 he began his career as a broadcast journalist.

The ex-bank robber ended up living alone in a caravan behind a village pub in Althorne, Essex, the Sun reported.

Throughout the 1960¿s the former criminal escaped twice from prison - the second time remaining at large for two years. The story of his escape was then made into a hit 1980's feature film, starring The Who singer Roger Daltry (pictured)

Throughout the 1960’s the former criminal escaped twice from prison – the second time remaining at large for two years. The story of his escape was then made into a hit 1980’s feature film, starring The Who singer Roger Daltry (pictured)

His sister Janice, 80, told the newspaper: ‘It was a sad way to end up. The last time I spoke to him he told me he was cold and lonely.

‘I was proud of him for getting his life back on track.’

Mr McVicar is suspected to have died of a heart attack while walking his husky dog Lucky. 

On his return to jail, however, he began to reform himself, taking three A Levels Leicester jail in 1972. Following his re-release from prison in 1978 he began his career as a broadcast journalist

On his return to jail, however, he began to reform himself, taking three A Levels Leicester jail in 1972. Following his re-release from prison in 1978 he began his career as a broadcast journalist

She added: ‘He had isolated himself from his entire family, but I find it very sad that he ended his days like that.’

Essex Police said the September 6 death was not suspicious.

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