Friday, 18 November 2011


Biggs Performs for the Press Circus on Thursday
The international press circus performed for world famous gangster Ronnie Biggs’ last stand on Thursday.

Well, not so much a ‘stand’ because the grubby thief and cynical conman, still with an ego the size of a hot-air balloon, is now eighty-two, slumped in a wheelchair and can communicate only by poking a shaky forefinger at an alphabet board to spell out the words he chooses to grace us with.

But waste no tears on this flamboyant and hoodwinking hoodlum. Mr Biggs does not merit the kind of final show as that Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite. Biggs was, and still is, a nefarious showman. Honest Henry the Horse would never do the Waltz for Biggsy. There should be no 'benefit' for Ronald Biggs, which is surely what this 5,000-run book is intended to be. At the price, another £100,000 bonanza for the undeserving.

Biggs is blagging US ... again!

Reporters and photographers from countries as far apart as Brazil and Australia – where he’d lived high on the hog after his prison break – arrived at the London launch of a re-hash of his 1994 autobiography for the apology the Biggs publicity machine had promised for the record-breaking 1963 £2.6m cash heist ($75,000,000 in today’s pocket money). They even expected a promise that some of the proceeds from the expensive hard-backed book would go to the surviving family of train driver Jack Mills, so viciously bludgeoned during the 16-man hold-up that he never recovered from the beating before his death from leukemia just seven years later.

Ronnie Biggs reading Delano's Slip-Up
The press corps had travelled a long way for nothing. They didn’t get either. Instead, Biggsy’s laboriously moving finger wrote that he would be remembered as a ‘lovable rogue’.

And he boldly states in his book, Ronnie Biggs – the Odd Man Out – The Last Straw: ‘If you want to ask me whether I have any regrets about taking part as one of the train robbers, I will answer ‘NO! I will go further: I am proud to have been one of them.’

There’s more HERE, if you can stomach it, and the story is all over today’s media, whatever corner of the globe you happen to be in.

BeWrite Books says that Ronnie was indeed a rogue … but by no means a lovable one. He is the most insidious criminal of our age because he – too often successfully – made the most outrageous and violent of crimes a cause for celebration. He raised applause for cocking a snook at justice and fair play.

He made at least two generations accomplices to The Great Train Robbery.

Why believe a word (supposedly) written by a villain who admits that his entire adult life was dedicated to crime, deception, lies and evasion of responsibility?

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth behind the legend is told unerringly and reliably by former national newspaper chief, Anthony Delano, in SLIP-UP, available in all ebook formats and paperback. Delano’s account is Big News, not Biggs’ news.

Author Anthony Delano
Delano said today: “According to the pre-launch publicity of this new edition of his memoire, Ronnie Biggs was going to ‘apologise’ for the Great Train Robbery. Not just for his part in it but for the whole thing, including the clout on the head that someone gave the train driver.

“Wasn’t Ronnie, of course. He never even got on the train. But he did get away with sacks stuffed with stolen tax-payers' money. More importantly, he got away with not serving the best part of a thirty-year prison sentence.

“Stroke-bound now, he’s said to have revised his biography Odd Man Out by collaborating with a ghostwriter via a letter-board. There won’t be too many fresh words, then, apart from the additional three words to the title; The Last Straw. And we’re still waiting for remorse he will never show.”

By the time Ronnie’s ghost writer, Christopher Pickard (and a few other people), wrote Odd Man Out they had the advantage of discovering exactly how it was that he was able to stay in Brazil rather than growing old in a British prison. They’d read Delano’s blow-by-blow book on the whole shebang, Slip-Up: How Fleet Street found Ronnie Biggs and Scotland Yard Lost Him.

Only after THAT did Biggs know what really happened to make him the world’s most celebrated fugitive.

Ronnie Biggs and the masked mob he was a part of raided the Royal Mail train between Glasgow and London under cover of darkness on a lonely stretch of track and toted off sacks stuffed with banknotes. Police eventually rounded up the gang and the Great Train Robbers were sent to jail for a long, long time. The bulk of their loot was never recovered.

Innocent and bloody, the unconscious Jack Mills was rushed to ER from the UK crime scene of the century. He also never recovered. (I know that because I got to know Jack's wife and family -- they were not criminals; they were like thee and me. They didn't know Dad could go to work and have his head mercilessly bashed in by greedy ne'er-do-wells just for doing the job of driving a late night freight train. They didn't know he wouldn't be back for breakfast that morning,)

But the 'fun' really began when Biggs, with twenty-eight years of his sentence still to serve escaped from one of Britain’s most ‘secure’ prisons, went on the run and became the world’s most wanted man. 

He also became a folk hero as, time and again, he gave Scotland Yard’s crack squad the slip all over the globe by blowing his unearthed swag in hush-money, bribes and living like a celebrity who didn’t want to get out of wherever he was.

As the police farce gave the public mounting glee, it was crack newspaper reporters from the world press hub, London’s Fleet Street, who tracked him down in Australia and again in Brazil, returning with world scoops, while Scotland Yard’s top men returned hapless, empty-handed and red-faced to ridicule.

For thirty-six years, Biggsy lived the good life in Rio de Janeiro, laughing along with his countless millions of fans, basking in glory, and untouchable in a country with no extradition treaty. Whilst swearing loyalty to a devoted wife in England, he sported beauties on his arm at lavish parties where champagne and caviar went down in celebration like tea and doughnuts at gloomy police station inquests into their failures. His smiling face was on tee-shirts – every bit the icon Che Guevara had become by then.

He recorded songs and flouted his glamour-life freedom in world media ... as plodding Scotland Yard blushed and blundered.

Biggs even recorded a song with the sickening ‘Sex Pistols’ called No One is Innocent. It includes the words: “God save Martin Bormann and Nazis on the run. They wasn’t being wicked, God, that was their idea of fun. God save Myra Hindley God save Ian Brady. Even though he’s horrible and she ain’t what you call a lady.” Hindley and Brady tortured and killed children; the horrific Moors Murderers. The couple recorded the screams of their little victims as they died in agony and terror. We know what Bormann and his Nazis did. God save Ronnie Biggs, too, was the message.

Biggs believed his own publicity. But Anthony Delano’s insider story – unique, insightful, often hilarious – is a true, bow-by-blow, account of every slip-off by Biggs, slip-in by the press and SLIP-UP by police.

A major BBC film of the book was hastily blocked by the man in charge of the chase – the famously infamous Slipper of the Yard (unkindly referred to in some circles as ‘Slip-Up of the Yard’) – when he threatened legal action; not because of any inaccuracy in Delano’s work, but because he claimed the actor portraying him went too far in caricaturing him as a clown.

BeWrite Books has released the very first digital editions of the book that became Biggsy’s own favourite (that’s him reading it in fun and sun in one of the pictures carried here), had Biggsy fans in stitches, and is an embarrassment to Scotland Yard to this day.

But the final slip-up wasn’t by the police. It was by Ronnie Biggs this week as he was wheeled into his press conference to launch a new claim to fame, fanfared by Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock, sporting movie star sunglasses, with snazzy skull-and-cross-bones braces clipped to the pants of his flashy suit, expensive designer shoes on his useless feet.

This was a dying man’s last opportunity to express remorse, for a full apology to the country he stole from, to the principle of justice he ridiculed, to the millions around the world he’d hoodwinked into thinking him a modern-day Robin Hood, a promise to turn over every penny the book earns to the family of the late Jack Mills or a charity.

He didn’t rise to the occasion. But with some effort, he did rise to a cynical laugh as the cameras snapped. It had been Biggsy's last chance and our last straw. He laughed in our faces.

Ronnie Biggs is what he always was – a mere skeleton of humanity in fancy dress. A ruthless thief, still living on stolen time.

His mouth hung open and his tongue flopped grotesquely like that of a man swinging from a gallows rope. He uttered not a coherent word yesterday, leaving his Brazilian son. Michael, to play ventriloquist to the dummy. Why should we expect his self-serving book to say anything more than Biggs did in his first and last press conference on the soil of his home country? Nothing.

SLIP-UP. Author: Anthony Delano. Editor: Revel Barker: Ebook editions designed and produced by Tony Szmuk. Additional input from the BeWrite Books Team: PAPERBACK from Revel Barker Publishing

Happy weekend. Neil et al at BeWrite Books

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