Britain's Great Train Robber Biggs in hospital

29th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Ronnie Biggs, notorious for his role in Britain's 1963 Great Train Robbery and his 35 years as a celebrity fugitive, was admitted to hospital with chest pains Saturday.

The ailing 80-year-old was to undergo tests at Barnet General Hospital in north London, his son Michael Biggs said.

"He had pain in his chest this morning, he's conscious but he's in a lot of pain," he said.

Biggs, who was released from custody last August, lives in a care home in Barnet. A series of strokes has left Biggs bedridden and unable to speak, eat unaided or walk. He was in hospital with pneumonia when he was freed.

"My daughter was born in the last few weeks so he's been in good spirits celebrating that," Michael Biggs said.

The infamous Great Train Robbery saw a 15-strong gang hold up a Glasgow to London mail train and make off with 2.6 million pounds, a huge sum at the time, at a railway bridge north of London.

Biggs played a minor role in the hold-up but was jailed for 30 years in 1964. After 15 months, he escaped by scaling a prison wall and leaping on to the roof of a furniture van.

Biggs' three decades on the run took him to France, Spain and then Australia, but he settled in Brazil, where he flaunted his freedom by frequently being pictured in British newspapers partying.

He nevertheless handed himself over to British authorities in 2001 amid a blaze of publicity and was sent to jail to serve out the rest of his sentence.

© 2010 AFP

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