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    Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

    This is a discussion on Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84 within the Everyday Life forums, part of the Community channel category; BBC News - Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84 British criminal Ronnie Biggs, who took part in the ...

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      Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      BBC News - Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84
      British criminal Ronnie Biggs, who took part in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, has died aged 84, his spokeswoman has confirmed.

      Biggs was part of the gang which escaped with 2.6m from the Glasgow to London mail train on 8 August 1963.

      He was given a 30-year sentence but escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965.

      In 2001, he returned to the UK seeking medical help but was sent to prison. He was released on compassionate grounds in 2009 after contracting pneumonia.

      Biggs, who died early on Wednesday, was being cared for at the Carlton Court Care Home in East Barnet, north London.

      He could not speak and had difficulty walking after a series of strokes.

      He was last seen in public at the funeral of his fellow Great Train Robber, Bruce Reynolds, in March.

      Christopher Pickard, ghost writer of Biggs's autobiography, said he should be remembered as "one of the great characters of the last 50 years".

      He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme his friend was "kind and generous" with a great sense of humour, which he retained to the end.

      Biggs was the first product of the "media age" who "inherited fame while running around the world", he said.

      Anthony Delano, who wrote a book about Biggs, met the criminal a number of times.

      "He was a man with no moral compass whatever," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

      "He was a small-time crook who probably would have ended up in prison for a greater part of his life anyway.

      "I think he was lucky actually to have so much of it free."

      Rope ladder
      Biggs, Reynolds, Ronald 'Buster' Edwards and the other gang members wore helmets and ski masks to carry out their crime, which took place near Cheddington, Buckinghamshire.

      They made off with 120 bags of money totalling 2.6m - the equivalent of 40m in today's money.

      Speaking to Nicky Campbell on Radio 1 in 2000 - before his return to the UK - Biggs said his share of the money had been 147,000.

      "I squandered it totally - within three years it was all gone," he said.

      Since then he had been "living on my name only," he added.

      He said it was "totally regrettable" that train driver Jack Mills has been struck over the head during the robbery.

      "I regret it fully myself - I only wish it would not have happened but there's no way that I can put the clock back."

      Mr Mills, who never worked again, died in 1970.

      But Biggs said he did not regret the robbery and, referring to comments made by the judge in the trial, he said: "I'm totally involved in vast greed, I'm afraid."

      Peter Rayner, a former chief operating officer for British Rail who worked with Mr Mills, said: "My view is that whilst I was, and am, critical of the Great Train Robbers and the heroes' welcome they got, especially in light of the death of Jack Mills, my sympathies go out to his family."

      Biggs, who lived in Spain, Australia and Brazil while he was on the run, had been in prison for 15 months when he used a rope ladder to climb over the prison walls.

      He had initially fled to Paris, with his wife Charmian and two sons, Farley and Chris.

      In 2011, his son, Michael, told the BBC News website his father had a final wish that his ashes be spread between Brazil and London.

      The BBC said two film dramas about the robbery - A Robber's Tale and A Copper's Tale - scheduled to be broadcast on BBC One on Wednesday and Thursday, would still go ahead.

      Writer Chris Chibnall said the programmes did not focus on Biggs. The first is from the point of view of Reynolds, while the second tells the story of the police investigation.

      "With anything like this your thoughts have to be with the family on a day like today," Mr Chibnall said.

      "He has children and obviously it's going to be a very difficult day for them."

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      A scumbag the media turned into a folk hero.
      dog-man and steelysteph like this.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      Good riddance to bad scum.

      Hope he rots in hell!

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      Did the crime, refused to accept doing the time.
      Stuck two fingers up to this country until he was too sick, then he came back for treatment paid for by the same taxpayers that he robbed.
      Released from hospital and showed two fingers again.

      BBC should cancel the drama and stop giving this 'story' any more airtime.
      dog-man likes this.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      Definitely!

      100% scumbag!

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      BBC should cancel the drama and stop giving this 'story' any more airtime.
      I'm not too sure about that. It depends on how they portray it, if they show them to be the villains they were, good and well. But if they make them out to be some sort of modern day Robin Hoods, they should have their licence revoked immediately.
      steelysteph likes this.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      I've always just seen the phenomena as 'a class thing'.

      I mean, we're for ever being exposed to the corruption that upper-class people get up to, like with the expenses scandal, moats etc (this one being the most recent), that in the light of m bonuses & what not, when a cockney geezer beats the system it's seen as sticking one back to them for a change.

      I don't share that opinion but feel it does go some way to explaining things.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      Quote Originally Posted by gymno View Post
      I've always just seen the phenomena as 'a class thing'.

      I mean, we're for ever being exposed to the corruption that upper-class people get up to, like with the expenses scandal, moats etc (this one being the most recent), that in the light of m bonuses & what not, when a cockney geezer beats the system it's seen as sticking one back to them for a change.

      I don't share that opinion but feel it does go some way to explaining things.
      A thief is, a thief - whatever, class they come from.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      Quote Originally Posted by RJM
      A thief is, a thief - whatever, class they come from.
      I totally agree.
      Same story with taking a biro home from work.

      Just saying, it's a similar mentality as when people used to say:
      "Well yeah but at least when the Krays were around, you didn't need to lock your front door".
      (Which one may have done if spotting the taxman coming lol).

      I have met folks like that.

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      Re: Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs dies aged 84

      I think that you are all correct in that the press did romanticise Ronnie Biggs.

      He should have served his 30 year sentence. He would have been released probably after 15 years anyway.

      Instead the papers helped to fund his escape from the UK by allowing him to sell his story. Something I am sure the train driver who died 7 years later from "unrelated chronic lymphatic leukaemia, with a further complication of bronchial pneumonia". However Ronnie's wide profited to the tune of 65,000 by selling her story to the papers, whilst the train driver received 250 compensation.

      Sure Ronnie wasn't the person who hit the driver, but he was a part of the gang of 16 men.

      Ronnie wasn't a particularly good member of the Armed forces either. He was kicked out of the RAF after breaking into a chemist and was done for desertion.

      When the extradition was finally ready, he got his girlfriend pregnant so couldn't be extradited under Brazilian laws.

      Basically he was a crook, a dishonest crook. The gullible press helped to pay for his new lifestyle.

      Sometimes the government should just turn around and say "You did the crime, now do the time" and not let such criminals free, even on compassionate grounds. As for family visits, I think that these should have been further restricted to fall in line with what other prisoners normally get in his case, no matter how unwell he was.

      Finally the government should consider ceasing the families assests so as to pay for costs involved in hunting him, imprisoning him and later treating him in hospital.

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