Jack Straw: 'Why I freed Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs'

Blackburn Citizen: Ronnie Biggs, freed by Jack Straw Ronnie Biggs, freed by Jack Straw

BLACKBURN MP Jack Straw said sending Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs back to jail on his return to Britain after 36 years on the run was the right decision.

The notorious 84-year-old criminal died yesterday at the Carlton Court Care Home, in East Barnet, north London.

He could not speak, and had difficulty walking after strokes.

Mr Straw also said releasing Biggs because of terminal illness in August 2009 was ‘correct at the time’, even though he lived another four years.

The 1963 ‘Great Train Robbery’ involved a 16-strong masked gang escaping with £2.6million after stopping the Glasgow to London mail train, near Cheddington, Buckinghamshire. The haul, equivalent to £40million in today’s money, was the biggest at the time in the UK.

Train driver Jack Mills, who never worked again and died in 1970, was struck over the head. Ringleaders, including Biggs, were given 30-year prison sentences, but he escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965, living in Australia and Brazil.

In May 2001, he returned to the UK seeking medical help, but was immediately returned to prison by Mr Straw to serve the remaining 28 years of his sentence, in one of his last acts as Home Secretary.

The Blackburn MP, later Justice Secretary, released Biggs on compassionate grounds in 2009 after he got pneumonia following a series of strokes.

Mr Straw said: “Sending Biggs back to prison when he returned in 2001 was the right decision. He was a criminal who should not have been rewarded for escaping and, as he admitted, living the high life. If he had not escaped, he would have served his sentence and been free by 2001.

“Releasing him on comp-assionate grounds in 2009 was correct at the time, although I initially refused to do so. Prognosis of how long people with terminal illness are going to live is very difficult. I took the decision on medical and prison service advice.”

Comments (11)

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9:03pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Michael@ClitheroeSince58 says...

Fair enough Jack
Fair enough Jack Michael@ClitheroeSince58

9:30pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Pyewacket2 says...

And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi.
And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi. Pyewacket2

10:09pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Malthus says...

Pyewacket2 wrote:
And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi.
Please explain what doing "an oil" means.
[quote][p][bold]Pyewacket2[/bold] wrote: And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi.[/p][/quote]Please explain what doing "an oil" means. Malthus

10:15pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Chuck-Norris says...

Out in 2001 ?? Err dream on jack ... He would have been out in the mid 1970's after only serving half his sentence because our prison system is a joke
Out in 2001 ?? Err dream on jack ... He would have been out in the mid 1970's after only serving half his sentence because our prison system is a joke Chuck-Norris

11:36pm Thu 19 Dec 13

full moon says...

Jack Straw said "PFI was a good deal for Blackburn" Between him and Ronald Biggs, which was the biggest bank robber?
Jack Straw said "PFI was a good deal for Blackburn" Between him and Ronald Biggs, which was the biggest bank robber? full moon

11:52pm Thu 19 Dec 13

Loving lances says...

And now while Jack waits for his peerage so that he can sit in the Lords with his mate Fatty Prescott and claim his £300 daily allowance, his son Little Willy is waiting to be elected as member for Rossendale and Darwen. MPs deserve a pay rise, says Jack, but no comment yet from
Willy.
And now while Jack waits for his peerage so that he can sit in the Lords with his mate Fatty Prescott and claim his £300 daily allowance, his son Little Willy is waiting to be elected as member for Rossendale and Darwen. MPs deserve a pay rise, says Jack, but no comment yet from Willy. Loving lances

12:19am Fri 20 Dec 13

Pyewacket2 says...

Malthus wrote:
Pyewacket2 wrote:
And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi.
Please explain what doing "an oil" means.
Meant to write "Oil deal" Gadaffi came in from the cold, agreeing to disclose his dodgy weapons and pay compensation to the victims of the Lockerbie affair. Big meeting in his tent with Tony Bliar. In return, we sorted out his opponents by kidnapping them and sending them back to \Libya and BP paid them £500m for an oil deal
[quote][p][bold]Malthus[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pyewacket2[/bold] wrote: And now for your next trick tell us truly what your involvement was in the extraordinary rendition of the Libyans so that your Government could do an oil with Gadaffi.[/p][/quote]Please explain what doing "an oil" means.[/p][/quote]Meant to write "Oil deal" Gadaffi came in from the cold, agreeing to disclose his dodgy weapons and pay compensation to the victims of the Lockerbie affair. Big meeting in his tent with Tony Bliar. In return, we sorted out his opponents by kidnapping them and sending them back to \Libya and BP paid them £500m for an oil deal Pyewacket2

4:28am Fri 20 Dec 13

hasnado33 says...

Jack Straw by name and by nature. The son nepotism how else would he get in. Well the unions are there look what they did for milliband
Jack Straw by name and by nature. The son nepotism how else would he get in. Well the unions are there look what they did for milliband hasnado33

3:06pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Copperhead says...

Ronnie Biggs was a crook, a thief and a parasite.
He would have made a first-rate politician.
Ronnie Biggs was a crook, a thief and a parasite. He would have made a first-rate politician. Copperhead

4:34pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Izanears says...

Mr Straw also said releasing Biggs because of terminal illness in August 2009 was ‘correct at the time’, even though he lived another four years.

Isn't it strange how many politicians have 20/20 hindsight. Having seen the problems caused by the EU's open border policy, David Cameron is chattering on about how the immigration rules must be tightened to stop the flow of people from Turkey and Albania when they eventually join the EU. Why did his predecessors not think about when they signed the Maastrict and Shengen treaties?
Mr Straw also said releasing Biggs because of terminal illness in August 2009 was ‘correct at the time’, even though he lived another four years. Isn't it strange how many politicians have 20/20 hindsight. Having seen the problems caused by the EU's open border policy, David Cameron is chattering on about how the immigration rules must be tightened to stop the flow of people from Turkey and Albania when they eventually join the EU. Why did his predecessors not think about when they signed the Maastrict and Shengen treaties? Izanears

1:52pm Wed 25 Dec 13

blackburnwithdarwen says...

More ‘Safe Seat’ Jack Straw final words of wisdom!

Whoever they find to fill Blackburn’s ‘Safe Seat’ will be very interesting.

But can anyone list any improvements to Blackburn due to Jack Straw over the past thirty odd years?
More ‘Safe Seat’ Jack Straw final words of wisdom! Whoever they find to fill Blackburn’s ‘Safe Seat’ will be very interesting. But can anyone list any improvements to Blackburn due to Jack Straw over the past thirty odd years? blackburnwithdarwen

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