Train robber Biggs takes his final journey
NOTORIOUS criminals paid tribute to Ronnie Biggs as the great train robber's funeral took place -- his parting message being a wreath in the shape of a V-sign.
When he was last seen in public, at the funeral of robbery mastermind Bruce Reynolds, Biggs had stuck two fingers up at journalists. The same salute was immortalised in white flowers laid at the back of his hearse, alongside the flags of Britain and Brazil, where Biggs spent years as a fugitive.
His funeral procession yesterday, which included 13 Hell's Angels bikers, travelled from his son Michael's home through north London and finally finishing at Golders Green crematorium.
Relatives and friends, including former gangsters Freddie Foreman and Dave Courtney, gathered in the rain to say farewell. Charles Bronson, one of Britain's longest-serving prisoners, sent a bouquet and an old 10-bob note with "Ronnie Biggs RIP" scrawled across it.
Biggs's remains were brought into a packed-out chapel as the London Dixieland jazz band played slow tunes, with mourners clapping and reaching out to touch the coffin, which was topped with a hat and a red-and-white Charlton Athletic scarf.
His son Michael cried as he paid homage to his father, saying: "Dad always had a way of looking at things and saying something that was fair and often funny... after arriving in Brazil he embraced the culture and became a carioca, someone from Rio.
"Dad, thank you for all your love and strength, your screwed up way of parenting that many people did not understand, however, it has worked."
Biggs had been released from prison in 2009 due to his failing health.