MADRID, Spain -- An unidentified gunman shot and killed one of the members of the gang that pulled off Britain's so-called Great Train Robbery of 1963, police said Tuesday.
Police reported a full investigation was under way into the Monday evening slaying of Charles Wilson in Marbella, a Mediterranean resort 320 miles south of Madrid.
Wilson was freed from jail in 1978 after serving time in connection with the notorious robbery from the mail train of more than $4 million. He had lived in Spain since his release.
Police quoted witnesses as saying a young man dressed in a track suit and running shoes rode to Wilson's villa on a bicycle and entered to speak with the Briton.
Police said the assailant, wielding a small-caliber pistol, killed Wilson instantly with a bullet that entered his mouth and came out through the back of his head. The gunman also shot Wilson's dog before escaping, they said.
Wilson was a former bookmaker who was thought to have been the treasurer of the gang that in August 1963 robbed the Glasgow-to-London mail train of 2.63 million pounds, or $4.31 million.
The robbers escaped with about 120 mail bags crammed with bank notes, of which only 343,000 pounds, or $555,000, was ever recovered.
One of the six also bludgeoned the train driver, who later died, and when the gang members were later captured, they received various sentences for robbery and murder.
One of Wilson's accomplices, Ronald Biggs, speaking to the British Broadcasting Corp. from his home in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, said he was saddened by Wilson's death.
'If there was going to be anybody who was going to live to a ripe old age ... it was going to be Charlie Wilson or myself,' Biggs said. 'It is very hard to imagine that anyone would have a grudge against Charlie. Mind you, he was a tough guy ... and he wouldn't let anybody push him around.'
The BBC said Wilson was believed to have known where the remainder of the mail money was stashed. It said Spanish police have not ruled out that his murder could have been the settling of an old score linked to the robbery 27 years ago.
Other gang members apparently have not received any of the loot. One, Buster Edwards, has been employed as a flower seller outside London's Victoria Station since his release.