A RETIRED police officer who was born in North Yorkshire and went on to become instrumental in cracking the Great Train Robbery case has died aged 83.

Keith Milner was born in Richmond in 1935 and moved to Oxfordshire in 1956 where he became Detective Chief Superintendent for Thames Valley Police.

On August, 8 1963, he was the first officer to arrive at Cheddington Railway Station to investigate what would become of the most notorious robberies in British crime history.

It involved a gang, masterminded by Bruce Reynolds, who stopped the Glasgow-Euston overnight mail train as it passed through the Buckinghamshire countryside.

The Northern Echo:

The 15-strong gang robbed £2.6 million – equivalent to about £53.5 million today.

Twelve of the robbers were jailed for a total of more than 300-years but more than one broke out of prison, including notorious criminal Ronnie Biggs.

Mr Milner’s photo of the scene appeared to his surprise on the front page of the London Evening News – now called the Evening Standard – that night.

He was later awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 1986 for ‘distinguished valiant service’ and received commendations from senior officers for his efforts in the robbery investigation.

Mr Milner featured in the television documentaries on The Great Train Robbery when it was the 50th anniversary of the crime as the father-of-three was instrumental during the case.

Other highlights in his 30-year-long career included being involved in the protection of the Queen and the Royal Family at Royal Ascot and during state visits to Windsor Castle.

The Northern Echo:

As head of Special Branch, he covered Royal Protection throughout the late 1970s and 1980s.

He also provided protection for King Hussein of Jordan.

After retiring in 1987, Mr Milner continued to work as a crisis management consultant for companies such as Walkers Crisps and Jacob’s Biscuits.

Mr Milner went to a number of schools in North Yorkshire including Guisborough grammar school and throughout his life he remained a loyal Yorkshireman, often spending time at the family’s flat in Scarborough.

His funeral will be held on March 21, in his hometown of Islip, Oxfordshire.