Insights from the UK and beyond
Is Ronnie Biggs being treated harshly?
Reason — a bad attitude.
The 79-year-old Great Train Robber may be physically frail but is clearly unwilling to show the required amount of remorse that would get him out of jail and could now spend the rest of his days behind bars.
All the other 11 members of the gang that held up the Glasgow to London night mail, coshed the driver and made off with 2.6 million pounds served just a third of their sentences. Biggs wasn’t even on the train on that notorious night in 1963. He was down on the embankment.
His son Michael says Justice Secretary Jack Straw’s decision is devastating, his lawyer calls the decision to keep Biggs in jail “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Yet the original crime was audacious and huge. Biggs’ cheeky hop over the walls of Wandsworth prison and his subsequent two-fingers to justice from the safety of Brazil clearly rankled with the British establishment. If he had been released, he would probably have become a magnet for old lags all over the country, as far as his physical condition allowed.
Do you think he should have been allowed parole?