THE daughter-in-law of fugitive Eddie Maher has told how she handed him into US authorities because she feared for her life after finding out his real identity.
Maher - known as “Fast Eddie” - was jailed for five years for the 1993 theft of a security van containing £1.2 million at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday.
The 57-year-old spent almost 20 years on the run in the US before being arrested in February last year.
The court heard 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.
Today she told ITV’s Daybreak that she was not motivated by the £100,000 reward offered by Securicor for the capture of Maher and return of the money.
Ms King said: “I was in fear for my life and to be honest it was just the right thing to do.
“When Eddie found out I knew, he threatened my life so really it had to be done.”
Asked whether the reward had played any part in her decision, she added: “I didn’t even know the reward was real.
“Lee had gone on a rant about it once or twice but I didn’t even know that was true until the FBI arrested Eddie.”
She said she had no regrets about her decision and said that, if a reward were forthcoming, it would be “very welcome”.
“That his in the hands of my lawyer. The money would extremely help, raising a child by yourself is very difficult,” she added.
During Tuesday’s hearing, David Nathan QC, mitigating, said: “An extraordinary aspect of this case is Mr Maher’s daughter-in-law had originally been the partner of his son Lee’s best friend.
“Lee won a lot of money on the lottery and she left her partner to marry Lee.
“When the money ran out, she did a little research on Google on the name Maher and found out he was wanted for the theft back in 1993.
“She heard that there was a reward and she went to the federal authorities.”
Maher, originally from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, was due to stand trial for theft after being deported from the US but changed his plea to guilty.
The court heard that he benefited from the theft from outside Lloyds Bank, Felixstowe, to the tune of £200,000.
Police and prosecutors are now preparing to retrieve Maher’s fire service pension pot - thought to be about £125,000 - through court proceedings.
Maher was declared bankrupt in the US and told the court that any money he received from the theft was now gone.
However, it is understood he accrued a pension worth about £600 a month during his time with the London Fire Service.
Legal teams will discuss this during a series of hearings scheduled to take place at Ipswich Crown Court.