Felixstowe/US: ‘Fast Eddie’ Maher inquiry and cost of his legal aid to taxpayer came to £30,000

Eddie Maher

Eddie Maher - Credit: Archant

Nearly £30,000 of taxpayers’ money was spent on bringing fugitive ‘Fast Eddie’ Maher to justice, new figures reveal.

Although Maher stole £1,172,500 when driving off his in Securicor van from outside Lloyds Bank in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe, in January 1993, he was virtually broke when he was finally caught in Ozark, Missouri, in February 2012.

Due to his financial situation he successfully applied for legal aid for his representation in court after being flown back to England in the summer of 2012.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request show the amount of legal aid provided to Edward John Maher who eventually admitted theft was £12,472.74.

A similar request to Suffolk Constabulary regarding the cost of returning Maher to the UK from the United States, and sending officers to America and other locations following his arrest reveals the cost was £17,195.

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Transportation costs, including £1,989 for air fares, totalled £5,279. These included two Suffolk officers – Detective Inspector David Giles and Detective Sergeant Stephen Bunn – going to the US to investigate Maher’s lifestyle.

Police were compelled to do so as at an early hearing before Ipswich Crown Court Maher’s counsel had indicated the case may go to trial as he was considering pleading not guilty to theft, due to him allegedly being under duress at the time.

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It was considered essential officers go to America in an effort to trace where the money, or Maher’s share of it, had gone.

Hotels in Colorado, Nottinghamshire, East Sussex and London, as well as subsistence came to £2,590, while overtime costs – including £4,128 for the Met Police – totalled £9,259.

Other suspects were arrested in England as part of the inquiry, codenamed Operation Ramble, although only Maher ended up being charged.

A further £67 was spent on equipment, according to Suffolk Constabulary.

Maher was jailed for five years at Southwark Crown Court in March last year after his guilty plea. During his sentencing it was claimed he had only received a £200,000 share of the money he stole.

In September Ipswich Crown Court made a confiscation order for £129,929 to be taken from the 58-year-old’s pension pot from his time as a firefighter in London. G4S, previously known as Securicor, received £50,000. The remaining £79,000 went to Equitas Insurance.

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