Sam Osterman, a close friend of convicted train robber, Tommy Wisbey, along with Freddie Sansom, a notorious armed robber and uncle to the former England footballer, Kenny, can today be unmasked as two members of the crew who got away. It has long been believed that planning for the Great Train Robbery began when a Post Office insider tipped off criminal associates about the movement of cash on the railways in the early s.
K nown only as the 'Ulsterman', by the other gang members, the tipster was never caught and was assumed to have escaped with his portion of the loot.
B ut five years ago a documentary team named the mystery man as Patrick McKenna - a former postman from Salford. But now former transport detective, Graham Satchwell, 70, who has spent several years investigating the robbery, claims to have evidence that proves McKenna's innocence. M r Satchwell has instead identified underworld fixer, Osterman, as the mystery gang member, but believes his role in the robbery has been much exaggerated.
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He is also, for the first time naming renowned armed robber, Freddie Sansom as one of the gang members who evaded justice. Sansom's brothers George and Terry, had long been suspected of involvement by the Flying Squad but they were never charged.
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Kenny Sansom, 60, the former Arsenal and Crystal Palace defender, who played 86 times for England told The Telegraph: "The police investigated my father and uncle Terry, but I think they were looking at the wrong Sansom. M r Satchwell worked closely with convicted train robber, Wisbey, and his findings will be appear in a book, Great Train Robbery Confidential, which will be published on October 1.
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M r Satchwell said: "In I helped convict Tom Wisbey of a big raid, but we met again in through a mutual friend and when I told him I was working on a book about the Great Train Robbery he surprisingly agreed to help. T he former detective said Wisbey hinted that Freddie Sansom was one of the those who had got away and had also cast doubt on the idea that McKenna had been involved. It did not make any sense.
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He did not fit the profile and it was all based on a name the train robber, Gordon Goody suggested. Osterman lived in a council house in Camberwell until after the Great Train Robbery when he bought a house in Norbury. During the incident driver of the train Jack Mills, was hit over the head with an iron bar suffering serious head injuries. He died in aged 64 from an illness unrelated to the robbery but his family maintains the trauma never left him.
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