UK Releases 'Great Train Robber' Biggs to Die

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2009 1:23 PM CDT
Ronnie Biggs leaves Chiswick Police station on his way to court in west London in this Monday, May 7, 2001 file photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Ronnie Biggs, part of a crew that stole millions from a British mail train in 1963 in the notorious Great Train Robbery, has been issued a “compassionate release” from prison to undergo medical treatment in his final days, the Guardian reports. Biggs, 80, has pneumonia, and doctors say there is “not much hope for him.”

Biggs was jailed after the robbery for just 15 months when he escaped and spent 30 years on the lam. He was rearrested in 2001 when he returned to England to seek medical treatment. “He is being released effectively to die and that cannot be considered a victory,” his lawyer says. “He is not going to any pub,” he adds, referring to Biggs’ oft-stated wish to once again “walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter.”