7 Aug 2009

'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs to be released

6:14 am on 7 August 2009

The British government has granted 'Great Train Robber' Ronnie Biggs release from prison on compassionate grounds, due to ill health.

The 79-year-old has served 10 years of a 30-year sentence at Norwich Prison in eastern England.

Biggs has been admitted to hospital suffering from a chest infection. His son, Michael, has made desperate pleas for his release.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw last month refused Biggs parole, principally because Biggs had shown "no remorse for his crimes nor respect for the punishments given to him."

Mr Straw said he had been influenced by the Parole Board's judgement which had found his propensity to breach trust a very significant factor.

But said he had changed his mind after considering the prisoner's health, specifically whether death was likely to occur soon and whether the prisoner was bidridden or incapacitated.

Along with 11 other gang members, Biggs robbed a Glasgow-to-London mail train in 1963 and stole £2.6 million pounds - about £30 million pounds in today's money. The crime became known as "The Great Train Robbery."