Biggs begs to leave Norwich prison

RONNIE Biggs has sensationally said sorry for the Great Train Robbery and begged to be released to die a free man.The notorious Train Robber made the extraordinary apology for one of the crimes of the 20th century as he warned that crime does not pay - and declared he had wasted his life.

RONNIE Biggs has sensationally said sorry for the Great Train Robbery and begged to be released to die a free man.

The notorious Train Robber made the extraordinary apology for one of the crimes of the 20th century as he warned that crime does not pay - and declared he had wasted his life.

Biggs, 78, said he was desperate to set the record straight before he died - and pleaded to be allowed to live his final days tasting one last slice of freedom.

Prison insiders said the former fugitive, who cannot speak and was partially paralysed when he was transferred to Norwich Prison's elderly lifer unit, had made a miraculous recovery over the last few months.

Biggs - played by actor Ralph Brown in the 1988 film Buster - is doing so well he is now reckoned to be one of the healthiest prisoners receiving specialist care at the packed Victorian jail.

Prison sources said:

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Despite needing to be drip fed, he can now move around the jail unassisted.

He communicates with staff and fellow inmates by typing into a handheld computer.

Biggs has not been taken to hospital or required any other external medical treatment since his move to Norwich.

One source, who has visited him since he was moved from top-security Belmarsh Prison, south-east London, said: “Ronnie's aim has always been to seek his release.

“But he is much happier with conditions at Norwich and the care he has received appears to be working wonders.

"There are a lot of very ill men in the unit and, although his condition is very serious, Ronnie is not one of the worst.”

Despite the progress Biggs still requires round-the-clock care and fears he is dying.

But he is battling on despite suffering two heart attacks and an MRSA infection and been diagnosed with skin cancer.

In the statement issued through his legal team, Biggs said he had wasted his life in a searing self-condemnation.

The country's most famous prisoner insisted: “There is no honour to be known as a Great Train Robber.”

Biggs adds: “Before my death, I wish to deter those who may think of following a criminal way of life.

"My life has been wasted and as I reflect on my years as a fugitive, I accept that cocking a snoop at the police was a mistake during my time in Brazil.

“All I ask is to live the remainder of my days a free man.

"Crime does not pay, as I have proved.”

His emotive plea will be sent to the Lord Chancellor and justice secretary Jack Straw.

Biggs, who spent 30 years on the run after scaling a rope ladder to escape London's Wandsworth jail in 1965, added: “I apologise for glamorising what should only be thought of as a wilful crime.

"I accept that cocking a snook at the police was a mistake during my time in Brazil. I acted like a child and can only apologise belatedly for my behaviour.”