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Train robber Biggs refused parole

By This is SouthDevon  |  Posted: July 02, 2009

  • Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is set to be released from prison on parole

  • Ronnie Biggs was jailed in 1963 but escaped to spend 30 years on the run, returning in 2001

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Train robber Ronnie Biggs has been told he will remain in prison after Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused to grant him parole.

Mr Straw said Biggs was "wholly unrepentant" about his actions and had "outrageously courted the media" while on the run from prison.

But Giovanni Di Stefano, legal adviser to Biggs, described the decision as "perverse" and said he was planning to launch a judicial review to try to have it overturned.

Mr Straw said it was "unacceptable" that Biggs had chosen not to obey the law and tried to avoid the consequences of his decision. He said Biggs would have been a free man "many years ago" if he had complied with the sentence given to him.

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He 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. Had he complied with his sentence, he would have been a free man many years ago.

"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.

"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."

Mr Di Stefano said it was impossible for Biggs to carry out any courses on reoffending because he was so ill.

"All the other Great Train Robbers served a third of their sentences, why should Ronnie Biggs be any different?" he said. "Ten years is enough. This shows a side of the British Government that is perverse - it is cruel and unusual punishment."

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