Biggs pardoned

The thief, who lived most of his life in exile in Brazil after staging a prison escape in his native Britain, was too ill in hospital to celebrate his 80th on Saturday (08Aug09) – but he did it as a free man.

Biggs, who infamously teamed up with punk group the Sex Pistols for the single No One Is Innocent, was among the gang behind 1963’s Great Train Robbery. Upon his escape from prison in 1964, he spent his life on the run but returned to England in 2001 to be arrested.

His poor health spiralled upon his return and now he’s sick with pneumonia, unable to walk or feed himself.

British officials agreed to pardon Biggs on the eve of his birthday, citing “compassionate grounds”.

His son Michael says, “It smells of freedom… He’s over the moon.

Biggs and his gang of robbers made off with $2.6 million (£1.7 million) after pouncing on the Royal Mail train heading to London from Glasgow, Scotland, and beat the train driver with an iron bar. The driver never recovered fully from his injuries.