Britain refuses to grant parole to Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs

The Great Train Robbery of 1963 is one of the most famous crimes in history.

On 8th August 1963, the Glasgow to London travelling post office was robbed at Bridego Railway Bridge at Ledburn, near Mentmore, Buckinghamshire.

A 15-strong gang, led by Bruce Reynolds and which included Ronnie Biggs, boarded the train and unloaded the money sacks.

2.6 million was stolen - equivalent to 38 million today (or US$56 million).

It was the largest robbery by value in British history, until the Baker Street robbery of 1971.

Ronnie Biggs escaped from gaol on 8th July 1965 and fled abroad, living in Australia and Brazil.

Biggs returned to Britain in 2001, after suffering three strokes.

Biggs' son said he didn't return just to receive health care. Biggs's stated desire was to "walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter".

Instead, on his return to Britain, Biggs was re-arrested and told to serve the rest of his sentence, despite being elderly.

The 79-year-old was widely expected to be released from prison this week following a recommendation from the parole board.

But parole has been refused. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said the Great Train Robber was 'wholly unrepentant.'

After all, he would have been released in the early 1990s if he served his sentence - 30 years - the first time rather than serving a year, so has still to be punished properly. So he still has many years left to serve.

Jack Straw TURNS DOWN train robber Ronnie Biggs for parole because he's 'wholly unrepentant'

By Daily Mail Reporter (external - login to view)
01st July 2009
Daily Mail

Ronnie Biggs leaves Chiswick Police Station after being arrested on his return to Britain in 2001

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs was refused parole today by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who said the Great Train Robber was 'wholly unrepentant.'

The frail 79-year-old was widely expected to be released from prison this week following a recommendation from the parole board.

But Mr Straw went against the board's recommendation and said Biggs would have been a free man many years ago had he adhered to the sentence he was given.

The news will come as a massive blow to his family who were hoping he would be home in time for his birthday in August.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw

Mr Straw was widely expected to sign the 79-year-old's parole papers, which would have allowed him to be released into the care of a nursing home as early as this week.

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 said: 'I have informed Mr Ronald Biggs today of my decision regarding his parole.

'Mr Biggs chose to serve only one year of a 30 year sentence before he took the personal decision to commit another offence and escape from prison, avoiding capture by travelling abroad for 35 years whilst outrageously courting the media.

'I am refusing the Parole Board's recommendation for parole. Biggs chose not to obey the law and respect the punishments given to him - the legal system in this country deserves more respect than this.

'It was Mr Biggs's own choice to offend and he now appears to want to avoid the consequences of his decision. I do not think this is acceptable.

Biggs' son, Michael, and the robber after he was arrested in 1963

'Mr Biggs is wholly unrepentant and the Parole Board found his propensity to breach trust a very significant factor. He has not undertaken risk-related work and does not regret his offending.'

Biggs is currently recovering in Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after fracturing his pelvis in a fall at the weekend.

His legal adviser, Giovanni Di Stefano, said his client was 'seriously ill' and would remain in hospital for the next two to six weeks.

Biggs has suffered a series of strokes and is fed through a tube. He communicates using gestures or by pointing at letters on a card.

Biggs 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 off with 2.6 million in used banknotes.

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

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

Earlier this month, a parole board recommended Biggs be released, despite acknowledging that he had no regrets about what he had done.

The Royal Mail train from which 2.6million - the equivalent of 38 million today - was stolen in 1963. Biggs was part of the 15-man gang that carried out the robbery

Biggs was taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the weekend after fracturing his pelvis

Theresa Villiers, the Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, said his round-the-clock care he would need on release was likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds for tax payers.

She said in a statement on her website: 'Ronnie Biggs has never expressed remorse for his crime.

'Barnet residents struggling to meet the cost of their own care will deeply resent their taxes going to support Mr Biggs.

'Not content with robbing trains, he is now set on hitting the taxpayer with a big bill.

'People who have worked hard and saved all their lives will be worse off than a convicted criminal who spent 35 years evading British justice.'

Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook and a campaigner for Biggs's release, said earlier today Biggs's release was 'long overdue'.

He said: 'It's time the Government recognised they have had their pound of flesh. It's time to let him go.'
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jul 1st, 2009 at 12:45 PM..
he had his freedom while on the run now it's time to pay the price
Quote: Originally Posted by LiberalmanView Post

he had his freedom while on the run now it's time to pay the price

Get over it. He robbed a train. He's paid a higher price with the few years he's spent in prison than many murderers do. Did he rob anymore trains in the 30 yrs. he was "free"? Sounds like a reformed man to me.
he did the crime so he has to do the time.

The countries he was in had train robberies so he is not squeaky clean
So - because there were train robberies, he must be guilty???? Come on now. You are a better thinker than that.
How do you steal a train? Was there a high speed chase through London?
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