Page last updated at 14:38 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 15:38 UK

Parole board backs Biggs release

Ronnie Biggs
Ronnie Biggs is serving a 30-year prison sentence

The early release of 79-year-old Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has been recommended by the Parole Board.

But the board said Biggs, who is on the hospital wing of Norwich prison, had not undertaken risk-related work and did not regret his offending.

A decision on the release of Biggs is expected within days, after the case was passed on to the Justice Secretary Jack Straw.

Biggs, who is barely able to walk, is eligible for release on 3 July.

Biggs is fed through a tube and is expected to be cared for following his release by Barnet Council and the local Primary Care Trust near where his son Michael lives in north London.

'Criminal lifestyle'

The Parole Board report said the risk Biggs posed was "manageable under the proposed risk management plan and consequently parole is recommended".

The panel added "in terms of his attitudes and risk areas there is little evidence beyond his increased age to suggest" he would not return to his old criminal lifestyle.

Biggs was a member of a 15-strong gang which attacked a mail train at Ledburn, Buckinghamshire, on 8 August 1963.

The heist became known as the Great Train Robbery.

The robbers made off with £2.6m - a record haul at the time - but were captured shortly afterwards.

After being given a 30-year sentence, Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison, south London, in a furniture van after spending 15 months in jail.

He was on the run for more than 30 years, living in Spain, Australia and Brazil, before returning to the UK voluntarily in 2001.

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