One of Britain’s most wanted men, dubbed “The Running Man,” ends up behind bars after evading capture for 13 years.
Ambrose Nicholas O’Neill, 42, was nicknamed for his ability to escape and had been a wanted man on the run since 2007.
Police were hunting the racket after it viciously attacked a 67-year-old antique dealer in a terrible robbery in Seagrave, Leics.
After his arrest, O’Neill attended the first day of his trial in Leicester Crown Court in July 2008 but did not appear for the remainder of the case.
Although he was sentenced to eight years in prison in December 2008 in his absence, he has not yet served a prison term.
But the fugitive has now been brought to justice after being arrested by award-winning TV cop PC James Gill of the Nottinghamshire Police.
The officer was commended in 2019 for his commitment to catching wanted criminals – including in his spare time – and “made it his business” to find O’Neill.
PC Gill put hours of work, including extended hours in his spare time, following every thread of intelligence on the case.
The officers made the arrest in the early hours of Friday morning (22/1) and eventually brought an O’Neill back into custody.
He has now been taken straight to jail to begin his eight-year sentence and will appear before Leicester Crown Court where the sentence could be extended.
PC Gill, who is based in Arnold and works on the “wanted man” team that tracks down outstanding offenders, said he was extremely proud to have captured O’Neill.
PC Gill, who appeared in the television police documentary Bodycam Squad, said: “He’s known as ‘The Running Man’.
“We knew he had changed his looks and lived in an area where people didn’t know him and he had a presumed identity.
“He laughed at the police so we were determined to do everything we can to find him.
“It took an incredible amount of work to find him. This is how these people know that their time on the run is over.
“Because I was surrounded by good, experienced and motivated officers, we achieved what we have. It’s not a solo performance.”
The officers also arrested a 41-year-old woman on suspicion of helping a perpetrator. She remains in police custody.
During the crime, O’Neill knocked on the victim’s front door pretending to be a pizza delivery boy before pushing him over and slapping him in the face.
He asked the victim to open his safe before leaving empty-handed.
Leicestershire Police launched a manhunt to find O’Neill after he skipped court in 2008, while Nottinghamshire Police officers were also conducting an extensive investigation.
But after the detectives exhausted all lines of investigation, the trail went cold.
A breakthrough came after an anonymous lead that Ambrose may be living with a woman in the Wyberton area near Boston, Lincs.
The information did not include an exact address, so officials worked tirelessly to develop intelligence and used a range of tactics to locate his home.
PC Gill added, “We are delighted with this arrest and it has taken a lot of hard work to finally get to this point.
“O’Neill had been long sought and was especially difficult to find when we received this new message. We did not hesitate to respond.
“I am delighted that it has paid off and that we are now able to do justice to the victims of this horrific crime.”
Nottinghamshire Police Department Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin added, “I would like to commend the excellent work and tenacious determination of our officers in all of their efforts in finding O’Neill and arresting him.
“It’s a shining example of our officials’ commitment to ensuring that criminals are held accountable and victims of crime are given justice.”
“Once our officers have sunk their teeth into this operation, they will not let go. Without their persistence, this fantastic result would not have been possible.
“You have left no stone unturned and a result that O’Neill must finally face the consequences of his actions.
“I would also like to thank our colleagues in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire for their assistance in this investigation.”