Felixstowe/US: Legal aid bid by ex-security guard on �1.2million theft charge

EDDIE Maher – the former security guard charged with the theft of nearly �1.2million – is asking for the taxpayer to fund his defence costs, The Star can reveal today.

Maher is currently remanded in custody in Norwich prison ahead of his scheduled hearing next Tuesday before Ipswich magistrates when his case is due to be committed to crown court.

But The Star understands that the 57-year-old, who declared himself bankrupt in America in November 2010, has applied for legal aid to pay for a solicitor.

Maher is alleged to have stolen �1,172,500 which was in a Securicor van parked outside Lloyds Bank in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe on January 22, 1993.

After he was arrested in Missouri in February the father-of-three requested for a court-appointed public defender to represent him in the US as he did not have sufficient funds to pay for a lawyer.

Although the British authorities remain tight-lipped over any application for legal aid on Maher’s behalf it is understood the former firefighter and publican has made a request.

A spokesman for the Legal Services Commission said: “I can not comment on Mr Maher’s case at this time.”

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Maher was detained in the US at the home he shared in Ozark with his partner of more than 20 years, Deborah Brett.

He had been working as an engineer for a cable company.

Maher was extradited back to Britain, arriving at Heathrow Airport on a flight from Chicago which landed at around 6.30am on Tuesday last week.

He was then driven to Ipswich where he made his first appearance before South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

During the hearing Richard Atchley, representing the defendant, said charges Maher faced in America – for document fraud, identity theft and being an illegal alien in possession of weapons – would not be taken any further.

Maher was remanded in custody, until his next hearing on Tuesday this week, which was via a video link from HMP Norwich.

At the time of the alleged theft of nearly �1.2m Maher was living in a rented house in Freemantle Close, in South Woodham Ferrers, near Chelmsford.

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