Great Train Robber Released

Ronnie Biggs has been formally released from prison today on compassionate grounds.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw yesterday approved the Great Train Robber's release. Biggs - who turns 80 tomorrow - is severely ill with pneumonia was told he is unlikely to recover.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed that prison staff have left Biggs's bedside at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, where he is being treated for pneumonia.

He was convicted for his role in the infamous robbery of 1963, where a 15-strong gang stole £2.6 million from a train in Buckinghamshire.

Biggs was jailed for 30 years, but escaped from Wandsworth Prison in London 15 months later.

He subsequently went on the run in Australia and Brazil, but voluntarily handed himself in to British police in 2001.

Last month the Justice Secretary rejected Bigg's application for parole, claiming he was "wholly unrepentant" for his crimes.

However, in a u-turn, Mr Straw announced he had agreed to release Biggs based on "different considerations".

Mr Straw said the medical evidence clearly showed "that Mr Biggs is very ill and that his condition has deteriorated recently, culminating in his readmission to hospital".

He added: "His condition is not expected to improve.

"It is for that reason that I am granting Mr Biggs compassionate release on medical grounds."


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