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Ronnie in fast trip to freedom.

GANGSTER Ronnie Knight was whisked to freedom yesterday after four years behind bars.

He sped away from jail in a big black Mercedes with a friend at the wheel after being released on licence.

The limo raced down the tree-lined drive to the outer gate of Springhill Prison, Bucks, and purred off to the M40 at 8.40am.

Knight, 64, sat low in the front passenger seat with a coat buttoned up to his neck and a black scarf across his face so only his eyes were showing.

By last night the ex-husband of EastEnders star Barbara Windsor was celebrating at a secret hideaway with his new love, blonde mum-of-three Diane Lumley, 36.

Knight was given a seven-year sentence for handling money stolen from a pounds 6million Security Express robbery.

He was jailed after 11 years of high living in Spain, where he ran a nightclub on the Costa del Sol and developed a booze and cocaine habit.

His third wife, Susan, was abandoned in their luxury villa when he suddenly decided to fly back to England and face justice. Friends said he believed he would be able to clear his name.

In a book of memoirs he later admitted paying pounds 1,000 to have a man murdered - a crime he was cleared of in 1980.
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Daniels, Bill
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 7, 1998
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