Great train robber Biggs says sorry -- to his family

By AFP

June 18, 2010 Updated Aug 23, 2009 at 7:10 AM EDT

Ronnie Biggs, notorious for his role in the 1963 Great Train Robbery, said sorry in a German newspaper interview on Sunday -- but only to his family for the hurt he has caused them.

In what Bild am Sonntag billed as his first interview since being released on compassionate grounds in early August due to serious illness, Biggs said his wish was to live as long as possible.

Asked if there was anyone he wished to say sorry to after his life of crime, Biggs replied: "To my family. For all the aggravation I have caused them."

The terminally-ill man said he believed God would forgive him his sins. "Doesn't he forgive everyone? I am at peace with him. We are mates."

Biggs, who is bedridden and unable to speak, eat unaided or walk, communicated mainly through his son, Michael, Bild said. He also spelled out words with his fingers, the paper said.

The 80-year-old said he "regretted the theft, but does not regret my wild life," according to Bild.

The infamous Great Train Robbery saw a 15-strong gang hold up a Glasgow to London mail train and make off with 2.6 million pounds, a huge sum at the time, at a railway bridge north of London.

Most of the cash was never found. The train driver, Jack Mills, was hit on the head during the robbery and died seven years later without ever making a full recovery.

"I am sorry that the driver was hit," Biggs said, again through his son.

It appears Biggs has lost none of his sense of humour as his life draws to a close. Asked what he wanted to do with the rest of his days, Biggs spelled out the words "Mount Everest."

Eventually, the famously hard-living octogenarian gave a more serious answer.

"To live as long as possible."

Doctors say that may not be long. The frail old man suffers from severe pneumonia and has been rocked by a series of strokes and is fed through a tube.




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