Page last updated at 09:58 GMT, Wednesday, 10 August 2005 10:58 UK

Release appeal as Biggs has MRSA

Ronnie Biggs pictured several years ago
Attempts by Biggs to be freed early have been turned down

Jailed great train robber Ronnie Biggs has contracted hospital superbug MRSA and should be freed on compassionate grounds, his solicitors have said.

Biggs, 76, who has suffered strokes and minor heart attacks and cannot speak, is in London's Belmarsh prison.

His lawyers said medical reports showed he was in "terminal decline" and the case for release was "overwhelming".

The Home Office confirmed an inmate was infected with MRSA during routine treatment at a local hospital.

Biggs was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for involvement in the robbing of a Glasgow-to-London mail train in 1963.

But he had only served 15 months of the term when he escaped from Wandsworth Prison. He has been held at Belmarsh since returning to the UK from Brazil in 2001.

Criminal enterprises

The Home Office said a Belmarsh prisoner developed a local infection after treatment and "subsequent tests showed this to be MRSA".

Our client is a man who is extremely ill and can effectively die at any moment
Paul Martin & Co

A spokeswoman added: "He has completed his treatment and further tests will be undertaken later this week to ensure the problem has been resolved."

Previous attempts to get Biggs freed on compassionate grounds have been rejected.

Another failed appeal centred on the disparity between his sentence and the jail terms served by his co-defendants.

The train robber's solicitors, Paul Martin & Co, said they have written to the prison authorities urging his release.

"The two consultant physicians clearly state the position as it is, namely that our client is a man who is extremely ill and can effectively die at any moment, to put it bluntly," the letter states.

"The Probation Service have already confirmed that there would be no problems whatsoever with regard to aftercare, and it is crystal clear that Mr Biggs is in absolutely no position whatsoever to even contemplate any criminal enterprise."

Biggs lawyer confident of release
12 Jul 05 |  London
Profile: Ronnie Biggs
06 Aug 09 |  UK


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