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‘Great Train Robber’ Wants Return

May 4, 2001

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ A lawyer for convicted train robber Ronald Biggs said Friday that his client wants to return from his self-imposed exile in Brazil to Britain _ with or without a pardon.

``He wants to go back any way possible,″ Wellington Mousinho told The Associated Press. ``To serve out his sentence or be free.″

A day earlier, Mousinho had cast doubt on reports in the Brazilian and British press that the 71-year-old fugitive would return to his native country without a pardon.

The possibility that Biggs would give himself up _ sparked by an e-mail he allegedly sent Scotland Yard _ was big news in Britain, a country that remains fascinated by ``The Great Train Robbery″ of 1963.

Biggs was part of a gang that stole 2.6 million pounds _ worth $7.3 million at the time, or nearly $47 million today _ from a Glasgow-to-London mail train in the early hours of Aug. 8, 1963.

The gang held up the mail train north of London, making off with 125 sacks of bank notes. The train’s driver, Jack Mills, was hit over the head during the robbery. Mills never returned to work and died of cancer in 1970.

Most of the gang was captured, and Biggs was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He escaped after 15 months by scaling a 25-foot wall on a rope ladder and jumping into a waiting furniture van.

During his long exile, Biggs has turned his notoriety into a thriving cottage industry. He has welcomed a steady stream of visitors with tales of his escapades and lunch at his home _ for a fee. He also has sold T-shirts and photos extolling his exploits.

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