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#333192 - 1st Jul 2009 5:26pm Robber Biggs Refused Parole
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Great Train Robber Biggs Refused Parole


Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has been refused parole by Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

Earlier reports suggested Biggs, 79, was to be told he was free to leave prison into the care of a nursing home.

It was claimed Mr Straw would OK his release but the politician has refused parole, saying Biggs is "wholly unrepentant" over his actions.

Mr Straw has gone against the recommendation of the Parole Board.

He said the robber had "outrageously courted the media" while on the run from prison.

He said it was "unacceptable" that Biggs had chosen not to obey the law and tried to avoid the consequences of his decision.

Mr Straw added: "Had he complied with his sentence, he would have been a free man many years ago."

Biggs, who has served a third of his original 30-year jail sentence, is seriously ill.

He has suffered a string of strokes and is currently being treated in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital for a broken hip and pneumonia.

It was reported he would be moved to the care home in Barnet, north London, near to his son Michael.

Biggs returned to Britain in 2001 after 36 years on the run and was ordered to complete the sentence he interrupted when he escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965.

Biggs had a walk-on role in the 1964 robbery when a gang held up the overnight Glasgow to London mail train and stole 2.6m (40m at today's prices).

Locomotive driver Jack Mills was coshed with a metal bar and never returned to work, though Biggs denied being his attacker.

Most of the loot - a record at the time - was spent helping the robbers flee abroad or was left with other villains who spent it.

Biggs lived as a fugitive in Spain and Australia and had plastic surgery before arriving in Brazil, where the absence of an extradition treaty with Britain meant he could stay there a free man.

But it was not the glamorous life it seemed and Biggs struggled to earn enough to live on, often signing bank-notes and T-shirts for tourists who were willing to pay to meet him.

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#333433 - 2nd Jul 2009 12:22pm Re: Robber Biggs Refused Parole [Re: ]
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Biggs to challenge parole refusal




Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is set to appeal against the government's decision to refuse him parole.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw rejected a recommendation by the Parole Board which backed the release of Biggs, 79.


Mr Straw said Biggs was "wholly unrepentant" about his actions and had "outrageously courted the media".

Biggs's son Michael told the BBC's Today programme his father would appeal against the decision because he had expressed remorse in his autobiography.

Reacting to Mr Straw's decision, Michael Biggs said: "I'm very upset.

'Regretted his crime'

"He said in his autobiography he showed remorse.

"My father has always stated 'I regret committing a crime, but I do not regret how I have spent my life because I got a family and loving son.

"We're going to appeal the decision... we have to continue fighting."

Biggs is currently in the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after breaking his hip in a fall.

He was taken from Norwich Prison to hospital after the fall at the weekend.

Michael Biggs is expected to visit his father later.

The Parole Board report said the risk Biggs posed was "manageable under the proposed risk management plan and consequently parole is recommended".

But the panel added that "in terms of his attitudes and risk areas" there was little evidence, apart from his increased age, to suggest he would not return to his old criminal lifestyle.

Giving his reasons for the refusal of parole, Mr Straw said it was "unacceptable" that Biggs had chosen not to obey the law and tried to avoid the consequences of his decision.

In announcing his decision on Wednesday, he said: "Mr Biggs is wholly unrepentant and the Parole Board found his propensity to breach trust a very significant factor."

Biggs was a member of a 15-strong gang which intercepted an overnight train in a quiet part of Buckinghamshire.

The robbers struck on 8 August 1963 when the train stopped near Cheddington after the gang had changed a signal to red.

They escaped with 2.6m in used banknotes in the biggest ever raid on a British train.

After being given a 30-year sentence, Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison, south London, in a furniture van after spending 15 months in jail.

He was on the run for more than 30 years, living in Spain, Australia and Brazil, before returning to the UK voluntarily in 2001.


THE BBC

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