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The BBC's Duncan Kennedy
"He would have to serve some or part of the 28 years left of his sentence"
 real 56k

The BBC's Judith Moloney at New Scotland Yard
"He says he wants to enjoy English culture again"
 real 56k

Shadow Home Secretary, Ann Widdecombe
"It is worth him finishing his sentence"
 real 28k

Max Carlish, who recently made documentary on Biggs
"He is not on a par with the Krays"
 real 56k

Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK
Ronnie Biggs 'asks to come home'
Ronnie Biggs at his 70th birthday party in Rio in 1999
Ronnie Biggs has reportedly suffered three strokes
Ronnie Biggs, the man behind the Great Train Robbery, is reportedly negotiating with British police to return to the UK.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Biggs says he wants to end his 35 years on the run.

The paper says Biggs, 71, has e-mailed Scotland Yard from his home in Brazil, asking for a passport and offering to give himself up at Heathrow Airport.

My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter

Ronnie Biggs

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that it had received a "page-long" e-mail from a man claiming to be Biggs, but refused to confirm its contents.

Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison in south London in 1965 after serving 15 months of a 30-year sentence for his part in the 2.6m Great Train Robbery.

The 71-year-old reportedly claims he is in failing health after recently suffering his third stroke.

Explaining his reasons for giving himself up, Biggs told the paper: "I am a sick man. My last wish is to walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter.

'No regrets'

"I hope I live long enough to do that."

His e-mail to the head of Scotland Yard's Serious and Organised Crime Group, Detective Chief Superintendent John Coles, reportedly said: "I would like to give myself up to you.

"What I need is passport documentation to travel back to Britain.

The Sun's front page
Biggs revealed his wish to retrun to the UK in The Sun
"I am prepared to be arrested at the gate when I arrive at Heathrow airport and submit myself to the due process of the law."

He is also said to have included a thumb print, which can be linked to his police records to prove the e-mail is genuine.

Biggs told the newspaper: "I always said I would go back and now is the time."

He said that the hardest thing about returning would be leaving behind his son Michael and granddaughter Ingrid.

Thumb print

"I know that when I leave it might be the last time I see her. But I've had a great life. I don't regret anything," he added.

The former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Jim Sewell, said Biggs should stay in Brazil.

"He is hardly a national hero. Why should the British tax payer suffer him here," he told the BBC.

Carriages of the train involved in the Great Train Robbery
The carriages of the train that were robbed
"I wonder often if he is getting older and likes the publicity to think he is still the old lag that he was, and likes a little bit of status when in fact he is really just a common criminal."

Biggs was part of a gang that escaped with a then record haul after holding up a Glasgow to London night train in 1963.

Driver Jack Mills was coshed as the gang boarded the train near Cheddington in Buckinghamshire. He never fully recovered from the attack and died in 1970.

After his escape Biggs fled to Australia, then on to Argentina and Bolivia, eventually ending up in Rio de Janeiro in 1970.

After marrying a local woman and fathering a child he could not be extradited under Brazilian law.

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Great Train Robber
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See also:

03 May 01 | UK
A lifetime on the run
23 Dec 00 | UK
Great heists of our time
01 Nov 99 | Entertainment
Great Train Robbery game plan
17 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Ronnie Biggs is back
09 Aug 99 | UK
Great Train Robber turns 70
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