Eastbourne thief who stole £1.2 million and went on run for 19 years is freed after two years


MPS have criticised the case of a notorious thief now living in Eastbourne who stole £1.2 million and went on the run for 19 years before being released two years after a judge jailed him.

“Fast Eddie” Maher served less than half a five year sentence for one of the most infamous heists when the former Securior guard plundered his own armoured van in 1993 and fled the country.

He was one of Britain’s most wanted men but was finally caught in America and extradited to the UK and jailed in March 2013.

The 59-year-old now lives with his partner Deborah Brett in Wannock Lane in Willingdon.

But his early release from prison has been criticised by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd and Labour MP John Mann who both said he should have served his full sentence.

Mr Lloyd said, “This is a classic example of why so many ordinary people just feel let down by our criminal system. Despite getting away with a crime for almost twenty years on the run, this Mr ‘Fast Eddie’ Maher looks to have got away again by serving under half the time he was actually sentenced. “Apparently he is now living in Eastbourne. I will be writing to Chris Grayling MP, the Minister of Justice, to demand an explanation over this particular case, and also a rationale for his departments early release policy.”

Mr Mann said, “People are coming out of prison far too early. Prisoners should be forced to serve their full tariff.”

Mr Maher and Ms Brett did not want to make any comment to the Herald on Monday afternoon but Mr Maher did tell a reporter from a national newspaper last month, “I’ve served my time.”

Mr Maher disappeared after driving off with his Securicor van from Felixstowe in January 1993. He later used two getaway cars to disappear and arrived in the US a month after the theft.

He and Deborah made a new life for themselves in America using a number of false names and disguises, brought properties and land, owned a boat and learnt to fly.

Fast Eddie Maher. Eastbourne SUS-150303-103157001

Fast Eddie Maher. Eastbourne SUS-150303-103157001

But the money ran out and Maher was declared bankrupt.

He was arrested after a tip-off from his ex daughter in law and arrested in February 2012 – 6,956 days after fleeing Felixstoe.

When he was brought back to the UK and jailed at Ipswich Crown Court, Maher, who has two sons with Deborah, was imprisoned at HMP Norwich and later moved to HMP Belmarsh ahead of his release.

This Mr ‘Fast Eddie’ Maher looks to have got away again by serving under half the time he was actually sentenced

Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd