Biggs: 'I'll live on to spite my enemies'

Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is vowing to "live on to spite those who want me dead" after being released from prison on compassionate grounds.

The People published pictures of the 80-year-old former fugitive celebrating his birthday and first full day of freedom in the hospital where he is being treated for chronic pneumonia.

Biggs - who was freed on Friday by the Justice Secretary after doctors concluded he was extremely ill - told the paper: "I don't have much strength but I'll keep on fighting."

He added: "I've got a bit of living to do yet. I might even surprise them all by lasting until Christmas - that would be fantastic. I'll live on just to spite those who want me dead."

His birthday yesterday at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in Norwich coincided with the 46th anniversary of the famous robbery, which saw his gang escape with nearly £3 million in cash.

Biggs celebrated with son Michael and a fellow pensioner who mounted a campaign for his release from prison.

Retired steel polisher Tony Hastings, 67, of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, said: "He looked much better than I expected. I have seen a picture of him where he looked unconscious - but he was smiling and everything. Brilliant."

Michael Biggs said it had been "very special" to spend time with his father on his first day of freedom.

He added: "My father is extremely weak at the moment, it was the first day of freedom, it was a very special time for all of us."

On Friday he said his father was "about to close this last chapter" and would be "retreating fully from public life". "This is not going to turn into a media circus," he added.

Biggs, from Lambeth, is due to undergo surgery next week.

He could then be moved to a hospital nearer Michael's home in Barnet, north London.

He was given a 30-year sentence in 1963 but escaped after 15 months and lived as a fugitive in Australia and Brazil.

He returned to the UK voluntarily in 2001 and was sent back to prison.

Since then his health has deteriorated and he has suffered a series of strokes.

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