One of Britain’s most infamous criminals, Ronnie Biggs has spent his last night under prison guard having been granted a compassionate release from his 30-year sentence on medical grounds.
Turning 80 on Saturday, Biggs is in hospital suffering from pneumonia and is not expected to recover. His son was surprised by the news as the UK’s interior minister only last month refused his father parole. Michael Biggs told reporters, “I’m absolutely delighted. I think finally common sense has prevailed. I just hope my father can survive for his birthday and for whatever length of time he has got left on this earth”. Ronnie Biggs was one of a gang who robbed a mail train back in 1963. In what became known as “The Great Train Robbery” the men stole the equivalent of 35 million Euros in today’s money. The train driver suffered severe head injuries during the robbery. Police caught up with Biggs who was sent to jail but escaped after 15 months and went on the run. He eventually turned up in Brazil where he lead a playboy existence for more than 30 years. He returned to the UK voluntarily in 2001 in search of medical treatment and was re-arrested.