Ronnie Biggs's son loses appeal to stay with ailing Great Train robber

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The Independent Online

The Brazilian son of the Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has lost an appeal to stay in Britain indefinitely, despite his father's "precarious" health. Michael Biggs, 27, appealed under the Human Rights Act, claiming to be the only member of his family able to communicate with his father, now in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in south London and able to speak only in grunts. He said it was "inhumane" to separate him from his father.

Gordon Denson, the immigration adjudicator, said Ronnie Biggs's return to the UK was responsible for the disruption to his family life. He said Michael Biggs had known "full well" his rights would be severely affected by returning with his father to Britain.

A tearful Michael Biggs said yesterday: "I'm absolutely devastated. I think this is so cruel. My father has been in hospital for 33 days. It's very, very cruel, I'm going to appeal."

The hearing was told that Ronnie Biggs, 72, who has had three strokes, was suffering from gastric ulcers and eating problems, but adjudicators said his condition was not terminal.

Although Michael Biggs was allowed to come to the UK for six months and apply to stay for a similar period, he wanted the freedom to fly back to Brazil regularly to see his partner and one-year-old daughter. His solicitor, Alison Stanley, said: "He doesn't want to stay for ever. Apart from anything else it's a very cold country for a Brazilian. Both father and son knew Ronnie Biggs would be returned to custody but this is a very unusual case, and both thought compassion would be exercised. There is never going to be another Great Train Robber with a foreign son."

Michael Biggs has "temporary admission" status, which expires next month. Ronnie Biggs had been in Brazil since escaping from a British jail in 1965 after 15 months of a 30-year sentence for the 1963 mail-train robbery, which netted £2.6m.

Ronnie Biggs returned in May to finish his term. He is due for release in 2020, but that is being reviewed. Michael Biggs is not entitled to UK citizenship because his father never married his Brazilian mother.

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