Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Fresh plea for Ronnie Biggs as he grows weaker

The son of Ronnie Biggs made a heartfelt plea to the Government last night to release the seriously ill Great Train robber.

Michael Biggs fears the 79-year-old criminal is at his lowest ebb after being re-admitted to hospital from prison with severe pneumonia.

Legal representatives made an emergency application to Justice Secretary Jack Straw to ask for his release on compassionate grounds.

The appeal came just four weeks after Mr Straw refused to release on Biggs parole saying he remains “wholly unrepentant” about his crimes.

Speaking outside Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Mr Biggs fought back tears as he said doctors may not resuscitate his father if his heart stops.

He said three police officers guard his father who has suffered three strokes and cannot eat, speak or walk and is drifting in and out of consciousness.

Mr Biggs said: “The doctors said there is not much hope at the moment.

“We have put an application in this afternoon. Hopefully, Mr Jack Straw will release my father on compassionate grounds. We have got to be hopeful now.

“Doctors were talking about not resuscitating my father in case his heart stops. I have never seen him this weak.

“His life is in the hands of God and his destiny is unfortunately in the hands of Mr Straw.”

Ailing Biggs spent three weeks at the same hospital last month and a picture of him in his hospital bed was sent to MPs by legal adviser Giovanni Di Stefano.

On July 1 Mr Straw rejected a parole board recommendation that Biggs be released.

The decision meant Biggs will not be free to celebrate his 80th birthday on August 8 — 46 years to the day since the raid.

Biggs, from Lambeth, south London, was a member of a 15-strong gang which attacked the Glasgow to London mail train at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, in August 1963, and made off with £2.6 million in used banknotes.

He was given the 30-year sentence but after 15 months he escaped from Wandsworth prison in London by climbing a 30ft wall and fleeing in a furniture van.

Biggs was on the run for more than 30 years, living in Australia and Brazil before returning to the UK voluntarily in 2001 in search of medical treatment.

He was locked up in Belmarsh high security prison on his return before being moved to a specialist medical unit at Norwich prison.

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