Saturday, June 18, 2005

Biggs to make fresh bid for freedom

UK: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is making a fresh bid to be released from prison on compassionate grounds, his legal advisor has said.

The 75-year-old, who has suffered several strokes and minor heart attacks and can no longer speak, is currently held at Belmarsh, a category A prison, where he receives 24-hour nursing care.

Legal advisor Giovanni Di Stefano said that London-born Biggs "did not belong in prison and in any other European Country would be on home detention".

Solicitors have written to Home Secretary Charles Clarke to ask for Biggs's release on compassionate grounds "in view of our client's age and infirmity".

Biggs, who was born in Lambeth, was sentenced to 30 years for his part in the raid on the Glasgow to London mail train on August 8, 1963, when the 15-strong gang made off with £2.6 million in used bank notes.

He fled Britain after escaping from Wandsworth prison in a furniture van after just 15 months in jail.

After using plastic surgery to change his appearance he fled to Spain, Australia, and then Brazil.

He then spent 36 years on the run but surrendered himself back into custody in 2001.

His solicitors have made a series of attempts to transfer him to a lower security prison or have him released.

By Just Us posted 18 June 05