A violent criminal dubbed ‘The Running Man’ evaded police for nearly 13 years, but is now behind bars after a major breakthrough in the case led to his capture near Boston.
Ambrose Nicholas O’Neill, who is now 42, threatened to kill a 67-year-old male antiques dealer in Seagrave in Leicestershire on February 10, 2007.
He knocked on the victim’s door posing as a pizza delivery man before pushing him over and punching him in the face. He demanded the victim opened his safe, but left empty-handed.
O’Neill was arrested and attended the first day of his trial at Leicester Crown Court in July 2008, but then failed to turn up for the rest of the case
This prompted the national media to give him ‘The Running Man’ nickname due to his ability to evade capture.
He was sentenced in his absence to eight years in prison in December 2008, but has not served any time until now.
Leicestershire Police launched a manhunt to find him while colleagues at Nottinghamshire Police carried out extensive enquiries as his last known address was in Arnold.
After detectives had exhausted all lines of enquiry the trail went cold. However, PC James Gill and an intelligence officer took it upon themselves to launch ‘Operation Gladiolus’ in December 2020.
There was a major breakthrough in the case when an anonymous tip-off through Crimestoppers suggested Ambrose may be living with a woman in the Wyberton area near Boston.
No exact address was given, but officers developed the intelligence and used a number of tactics to pinpoint his home to Causeway, Wyberton.
Response officers from Gedling helped carry out the arrest, with support from Lincolnshire Police, before O’Neill was taken straight to prison to start his eight-year sentence.
O’Neill will appear before Leicester Crown Court on a date yet to be announced when his sentence could be extended.
Officers also arrested a 41-year-old woman on suspicion of assisting an offender.
PC Gill, who works on the ‘wanted squad’ at Nottinghamshire Police to track down outstanding offenders, said: “He is known as ‘The Running Man’. We knew he had changed his appearance and lived in an area where people do not know him and he had an assumed identity.
“He was laughing at the police, so we were determined to do everything to find him.
“It has taken an incredible amount of work to find him. It’s making these people know their time on the run is over.”