Great Train Robber to be freed next year

June 27th, 2008 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 27 (IANS) Ronnie Biggs, or the Great Train Robber as the world knows him, will finally be a free man next year. Biggs is among those who became myths in their lifetime, like Jack the Ripper, Carlos the Jackal, Charles Sobhraj or India’s Natwarlal, the protagonists in hundreds of works of fiction and a slew of films the world over.

He will be released in July 2009 after an agreement was reached about time served by the former fugitive.

The Daily Mirror quotes his lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano: “He is delighted. This has given him the opportunity to spend his last years with his family. I thank the Home Office. Biggs is almost 80 years old. It’s time for the old guy to go home.”

Biggs, now 78 and suffering serious ill-health, was jailed in 2001 when he returned to the UK from Rio De Janeiro after nearly 35 years on the run.

Biggs was part of a 15-strong gang who robbed 2.6 million pounds from a Glasgow to London mail train Aug 8, 1963. In 1965, he escaped from Wandsworth prison and left the country. He is said to have taken shelter in several South American countries before settling down for a new life in Rio De Janeiro.

British police finally ferreted him out in Rio, though it is not clear whether his return was voluntary or forced.

Biggs’ son Mike, 33, said his father had called to give him the news. Mike said: “He said he’ll be up for parole next July. At least there’s light at the end of the tunnel for him now.”

The ministry of justice has not commented on the news.

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