08/09/2012 06:59 BST | Updated 08/09/2012 07:27 BST

Ronnie Biggs, Great Train Robber, Tells Of 'Lost Love' After Fleeing UK

Great train robber Ronnie Biggs has spoken how his life as a fugitive robbed him of the love of his life.

Biggs spent 36 years on the run after the infamous raid in 1963.

It meant years spent away from his first wife, Charmian Powell, and their children.

Her story is now being told in ITV1's five-part drama Mrs Biggs, who was a consultant on the programme.

Biggs, 83, speaking through his friend, Chris Pickard, told The Sun: "Charmian Powell, otherwise known as Mrs Biggs, was the love of my life," he said.

"That is a fact, not fiction or a drama. I still love her and hope, in some small way, she still loves me."

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Biggs, who fled the UK, in Brazil in 1980

Biggs said the pair were reunited briefly earlier this year.

"When I was released from jail, I still did not know how long I had to live and thought it might be days. So we made a few calls from Norfolk Hospital to the people who mattered to let them know I was a free man. The first call was to Charmian in Melbourne.

"Charm promised to come and see me. That set me a target to keep myself alive for.

"When she walked up to my bed in Barnet Hospital in February it was the first time we had been together with me as a free man since I was arrested over the Great Train Robbery in 1963.

"I can't speak, I tap out my thoughts on a spelling board. But when you are truly close to a person you don't always have to spell it out. Charmian knows me only too well."

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Biggs at the launch of his autobiography last year

Biggs met Charmian in 1957 when she was just 17 and persuaded her to steal £200 from her employer.

In 1963 he was part of a 15-strong gang that robbed the Glasgow to London, Post Office mail train in Ledburn, Bucks.

Jack Mills, the train driver, was coshed over the head with an iron bar by the gang.

Mr Mills never worked again after the attack and his family said he never fully recovered and died seven years later.

The gang got away with £2.6 million in cash, around £40 million at today's value.

Most of the gang were caught and given long jail terms but Biggs escaped from jail in 1965 and fled abroad, living in Australia and Brazil.

He returned to the UK in search of medical care in 2001 and was released from prison in 2009 on compassionate grounds.