Barbara Windsor’s ex-husband Ronnie Knight who was jailed for £6million robbery dies aged 89

14 June 2023, 11:36

Ronnie Knight (l) and with Barbara Windsor (r)
Ronnie Knight (l) and with Barbara Windsor (r). Picture: Alamy/Getty

By StephenRigley

Dame Barbara Windsor’s ex-husband, underworld legend Ronnie Knight, has died aged 89.

Ronnie had battled Parkinson’s and passed away on Monday in a nursing home in Cambridge.

His condition was said to have deteriorated recently before he reportedly contracted pneumonia.

Knight was married to the EastEnders legend in the 60s and 70s, when he was an east London nightclub boss who knew the notorious Kray brothers.

He denied he was a 'gangster', preferring instead the term 'loveable rascal'. 

However he was jailed for his involvement in a £6million armed robbery at a Security Express depot in east London after a decade on the run in Spain.

The East End villain went on the run to Spain becoming one of the so-called ‘Famous Five’ crooks wanted for the Security Express robbery who holed up on the Costa del Sol.

Knight owned a nightclub who regularly rubbed shoulders with celebrities, and married to his first wife, June, when he met Barbara.

He later said: "I've loved all the ladies in my life. But I found what I wanted with Barbara.

"However he didn't say goodbye to her when he fled to Spain, later saying she was 'fixed on this showbusiness thing' and he knew he would be gone for some time."

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

He denied he went to Spain because of the robbery, saying: 'I just woke up that morning and thought: "I'm going."'The next morning, I woke up in brilliant sunshine.

"A couple of years later, Barbara phoned and said: 'We should get a divorce.' I said: 'OK, mate.' I got the papers through and I signed them."

Knight eventually returned to Britain was jailed for seven years for handling robbery proceeds – but not convicted for the heist itself.

In 1980, Ronnie was acquitted of murdering Alfredo Zomparelli, who was nicknamed ‘Italian Tony’.He was murdered in revenge after he stabbed and killed Ronnie’s brother in 1970.

Three-times wed and divorced Knight had been supported by his third ex-wife Sue Haylock during his illness.

Ronnie Knight with Barbara Windsor
Ronnie Knight with Barbara Windsor. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Third victim of Nottingham attack named as school caretaker as devastated son says 'I'm broken'

Read More: Tributes paid to 'fun, brilliant' student Grace Kumar, one of three killed in 'devastating' Nottingham attacks

One family friend tole The Sun: “His condition had deteriorated over the last few weeks. He got pneumonia and never recovered.

“A lot of people are going to be a upset to hear the news about his death. He was a rogue – but a very loveable one.”

Barbara and Ronnie were married from 1964-1985.

It was in 2000 that she married her now-widow, Scott Mitchell.

Barbara, who played Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, passed away in 2020, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Graziano Di Prima has been sacked by the BBC

Strictly Come Dancing pro 'sacked' after claims of gross misconduct towards former partner Zara McDermott

Prince William will be at the game on Sunday

‘Just one last push’: Prince William’s message to the England team ahead of Euro 2024 final against Spain

The family of the three women who were killed in a crossbow attack have said they are "devastated"

‘We are devastated’, John Hunt and surviving daughter say, after his wife and two daughters killed in crossbow attack

At least 71 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike

‘Dozens killed in air strike on Gaza humanitarian zone’ as Israel says it was targeting Hamas leaders

The Princess of Wales is set to attend the Wimbledon Men's final

Princess of Wales to attend Wimbledon men's singles final in second public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Comedian John Bishop has divided fans after announcing he will be changing the time of his gig on Sunday

Wireless Festival and Comedian John Bishop spark controversy after changing set times for England's Euro 2024 final

Joe Biden has insisted he is staying in the race

Democrat donors ‘withhold $90m unless Biden stands down’ as Obama and Pelosi ‘oppose President’s re-election bid’

Two suitcases with human remains inside were found in Bristol

Armed police arrest man, 34, at train station following discovery of human remains in Bristol and west London

Princess Anne has returned to public duties for the first time since her accident

Princess Anne 'can't remember a single thing' about horse-related accident as she returns to public duties

Tony Blair was among a star-studded guest list at the wedding of the son of India's richest man

Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and wrestling star John Cena among guests at lavish wedding of Asia's richest man

Jay Slater went missing nearly a month ago

Jay Slater ‘looked unwell’ hours before he went missing, says Tenerife nightclub waitress who ‘gave him water’

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter

Alec Baldwin weeps in court as judge dismisses manslaughter case against actor after fatal shooting on film set

Police have named 24-year-old Colombian national Yostin Andres Mosquera as suspect

Suspect named in manhunt as more human remains found in flat after two bodies discovered in suitcases in Bristol

Patrice Evra has been given a suspended 12-month sentence after being found guilty of abandoning his family for over two years

Man United legend Evra given suspended 12-month prison sentence after being found guilty of abandoning family