Court orders £1.2m security theft driver to hand over pension fund
A court has ordered Eddie Maher - who spent 20 years as a fugitive following a £1.2 million security van theft - to hand over his last remaining assets.
Maher, known as Fast Eddie, had been wanted by Suffolk Police since the Securicor van he was driving disappeared from outside Lloyds Bank, Felixstowe, on January 22 ,1993.
He was arrested by US authorities in February last year before being deported and jailed for five years at London's Southwark Crown Court last March.
It is understood Maher spent the proceeds of his crime during his time on the run, mostly using the cash to buy properties as he moved his family around the US in a bid to evade authorities.
But Ipswich Crown Court heard £129,000 had been found in a pension fund from his time as a firefighter with London Fire Brigade.
Judge David Goodin ordered Maher to pay over this sum, with £50,000 going to G4S, previously known as Securicor, for its loss in paying an insurance excess following the theft.
The remaining £79,000 will be paid to Equitas Insurance.
The judge said: "You will have six months to pay and, should you fail to do so, you will serve two-and-a-half years consecutive with you current prison sentence."
Maher appeared via video link from HMP Belmarsh wearing a grey T-shirt.
Asked if he understood the order, he said: "Yes sir, I understand."
Maher's life unravelled when his son Lee King's disgruntled ex-wife Jessica King contacted US authorities to tell them he was a wanted man.
Maher - who used the false identities of Stephen King and Michael Maher while on the run - was arrested for immigration and firearms offences before being deported to the UK.
He had claimed he had only received £40,000 from the crime but police said the former soldier and firefighter had profited to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
After his conviction, detectives revealed details of series of property investments which they say he funded from the proceeds of the crime.
This included a house in Colorado bought with 120,000 US dollars in cash just six months after the theft.
He later built a ranch on 80 acres of land in Colorado before moving around various US states.
At the time of his arrest on February 9 last year, he was working as a cable engineer in Missouri.
Suffolk Police have been searching for possible accomplices but so far nobody else has been charged in connection with the incident.
Detective Inspector David Giles said: "Today's hearing sends out a strong message that no matter how much time has passed since an offence was committed, we will use whatever powers are available to us, to pursue any money or assets that have been accrued by an individual.
"In this case, Edward Maher had evaded the law for 20 years.
"Although when arrested he had no assets or money, what he did have was a pension which had been accruing over the previous 20 years.
"It is pleasing to hear the result at court today and to know that some of the money, albeit only a small proportion, has been confiscated from Maher."