Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 4 April 2008 17:36 UK

Biggs' bid for Christmas release

Ronnie Biggs
Biggs was jailed for 30 years for the 1963 robbery

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs should be released from prison by Christmas as he will have served one third of his sentence, his lawyers have claimed.

Biggs, 78, in Norwich Prison, has previously suffered strokes and heart attacks which left him seriously ill.

He was jailed for 30 years for the 1963 robbery, but escaped and went on the run abroad before returning in 2001 to serve the rest of his sentence.

The Ministry of Justice said it would not comment on individual cases.

Biggs's lawyer, Giovanni Di Stefano, has written to the Parole Board requesting his release.

He said that under section 60 of the Criminal Justice Act, prisoners sentenced to a fixed term imprisonment should be considered for parole after having served one third of any sentence.

He's an old man, he can't walk, he can't talk, he's no harm to anyone
Giovanni Di Stefano

Biggs has so far served 3,385 days in custody, Mr Di Stefano said.

Speaking from Rome, Mr Di Stefano said: "As stated in my submissions, I am of the view that Mr Biggs is entitled to be considered by the Parole Board as a matter of law not discretion, for release on 25 December 2008.

"He's served 10 years, he's not got away with anything.

"He's an old man, he can't walk, he can't talk, he's no harm to anyone."

Biggs was sentenced before the parole application was introduced in the 1967 act, but Mr Di Stefano said despite that, Biggs's co-defendants had all been released on parole.

Record haul

Mr Di Stefano previously launched an unsuccessful bid for Mr Biggs to be released on compassionate grounds.

Biggs was transferred from the high security Belmarsh prison, in south-east London, last June to a unit at Norwich Prison for elderly inmates on life sentences, on compassionate grounds.

He was part of a gang which held up a Glasgow-to-London night train in August 1963 and escaped with a then record haul in cash.

Biggs had served only 15 months when he escaped from Wandsworth Prison by scaling a rope ladder.

He was on the run for 35 years after fleeing to Paris and Australia and then Brazil, which has no extradition treaty with the UK.

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