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Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs released from prison sentence - Times Online Just my two cents here and others may disagree but I reckon it's about time too, this man is no threat to society and when you can kill someone and get 15 years these days as has happened recently,then I think it's fair to say,again just my opinion that Biggs has paid a high enough price for his crimes. I in no way excuse his actions or his crimes but I think he has paid his debt to society. I hope he is able to have the rest of his life with his family.
RONNIE ON THE PHONE FROM RIO By Desmond Zwar I am on the phone to another Pom … in Rio, and the Cockney grumble of Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs bounces down the line. Britain’s most notorious ‘unofficial emigrant’ says of course he is ready to talk about his time in Australia, and his new career in public relations. Speaking from his exile where he entertains tourists (‘a barbecue, all you can drink, a dip in the pool and the Ronnie Biggs Experience for $50’) 64-year-old Ronnie is almost sobbing with nostalgia as he recalls the four illegal years he spent in Australia on building sites. When the tears were wiped away he gets down to business. He’d just become South American agent, PR-man and shareholder (he told me over an echoing line) in an Australian invention, a revolutionary car engine that was going to change the world. And truly, ‘it runs on petrol and water’. Ronnie warned me, anyone who didn’t get into it at $2.40 a share was a mug. So exciting was this invention (by a New Zealand figure called Rick Mayne, now Queensland multi-millionaire) that some highly-titled Britons indeed, including the Duke of Marlborough, had hurried along to a London stockbroker’s office a few months ago to get in on the action. There is a complicated time difference between Brazil and London and I had mistakenly greeted Ronnie with a ‘good morning.’ "Well, it’s good evening if you want to speak to Ronald Biggs," said the old robber. "You own shares in Split Cycle Technology?" "Yes, I do, Sir. I don’t know how many yet, ‘cos I haven’t received them. I am being given them so I’ll talk about them." He recognised my accent. "I would love to go back to Australia, I really would." Slipping into ‘Oz’ when every British detective was after him all those years ago seemed ‘a piece of cake’. "When my wife and family arrived in Darwin we drove down to Cairns. We went across to Green Island and saw the Great Barrier Reef. We looked at it from a glass-bottomed boat. I didn’t fancy diving in, ‘cos as a Pommie, I was frightened of those Noah’s Arks. "What I miss about Australia are the barbecues, the beaches, the Australian humour. I walked into a Melbourne urinal and there’s this notice: ‘Don’t throw your dog-ends in here, people find them hard to light afterwards.’ "Australians work hard and play hard. I worked on building sites and the Melbourne airport hanging partitions and ceilings. The foreman would come around and if a fella didn’t have his nail-bag on he’d reckon he was sick and send him home. He was hard on us; but at the end of the day he’d take us round the pub, order drinks for everyone and that same fella, who was cracking the whip all day, would pay the bill. That wouldn’t happen in England. "If I could be accepted back in Australia I’d go back, I really would. I appreciate the people and their philosophy. They rubbish the Pommies, but that is part of their humour. Australians have the best dirty jokes in the world." Ronnie said he regularly talked to tourists from the UK who always asked him: Did he want to go back to England? "When people ask me about England, I’ve got to say I really have no desire to see England again. Only maybe for a holid’y. In two years, when my son is 19, I face the fact that the Brazilian Government will ask me to move on to some country that has no extradition treaty with Brazil. That really narrows it down in this side of the world, to Venezuela or Costa Rica. And what if their presidents don’t want me? "They’ll say: ‘What’re we gonna do with Ronnie?’ I’ll become The Most Unwanted Man!" "In the meantime," he said, brightening, he was getting ready for the visit of 27 Australians taking part in the Biggs Experience tour arranged by travel agents. "It’s one of my scams. Otherwise I’m not allowed to work. Fifty bucks and all you can drink. But I reckon I’m taking a risk with Aussies." Mr. Rick Mayne, inventor, Lamborghini owner and listed in Australia’s Richest to be worth $50m., had defended his decision to employ the old robber. He said that now he had Ronnie Biggs aboard if people didn’t like it, well, "That is stiff bikkies. I come from a pretty hairy background myself. I have been pilloried in every Australian newspaper for being an ex-crook." (White collar fraud) "I did my time. I’ve come out. I’ve made good. I certainly don’t stand on anybody else who’s done their time. I realise the seriousness of Ronnie’s offences, but I have no qualms about him being involved."