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Ronnie Biggs: The Inside Story, written by two of Ronnie Biggs’s closest friends and most ardent supporters, delivers exactly what it says on the label, giving a very personal, unique and yet disturbing insight into the mind and subsequent treatment by the judicial and penal systems of the man that became a legendary household name for his role in one of Britain’s most notorious crimes, the Great Train Robbery of 1963, and his subsequent life on the run upon his escape from prison in 1965. Raising pointed questions and dispelling many myths, the story makes one wonder who is the greater criminal: the carpenter that played a bit part in an unarmed robbery 45 years ago, who has remained incarcerated since his return to the UK in 2001 despite the fact that he is now a frail, wheelchair-bound 79-year-old grandfather who is no threat to society, is fed via a tube to his stomach and can only communicate by pointing to letters on a laminated sheet; or the justice and prison systems that have allowed him to rot in jail for so long. One thing’s for sure, although Ronnie Biggs’s body is letting him down after a series of strokes and other illnesses, his legal team, campaign supporters, underworld friends and devoted family certainly aren’t, and neither is his own fighting spirit or his humanity in the face of inhumanity. All he wants now is to be able to die a free man rather than suffer “a slow crucifixion on the Home Office cross”, and once all the facts have been digested one can only be moved to ask: “How could anyone deny him that?”
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