May 18 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
DETECTIVES who investigated Eddie Maher’s 1993 theft of a security van containing £1.2million are still searching for possible accomplices.
As Maher, 57, formerly of South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, was jailed for five years after admitting the theft at Southwark Crown Court, prosecutors said police inquiries were continuing.
Prosecutor Richard Southern said: “We believe the defendant received assistance from people in this country in the months after the offence.”
Maher’s partner Deborah Brett, 47, his sister, Margaret Francis, 64, Paul Muggleton, 54, from Woodford Green, east London, are all on bail after being arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and conspiracy to commit theft.
Mr Southern said that it seemed likely Maher had travelled to the US using his brother, Michael’s, passport.
“Michael Maher has now gone off to Spain, as far as we know,” Mr Southern added.
The court heard that Michael Maher’s passport was used to go through border control on February 22 when a person purporting to be him travelled with another man, Terrence Bender.
“There was a physical resemblance between the defendant and Michael Maher and we say he would have been able to use his brother’s passport,” Mr Southern said.
The court heard that forensic evidence showed an acquaintance of Maher’s had contact with the getaway vehicle around the time it was stolen in November 1992.
Detectives also found phone calls between this man and Michael Maher in the run-up to the theft and the days after it.
At one point the suspect had a “lengthy” conversation with the passport office and also had direct contact with Maher.
He visited the US in March 1993, returning that May.
Mr Southern said that this trip coincided with the issue of Maher’s false documents which were used to support his new identity.
Another acquaintance, Michael Sulsh, also made trips to the States around that time, Mr Southern said.
“Sulsh and Bender have not been arrested and inquiries continue,” he added.