The uncle of Real Madrid star Gareth Bale’s fianceé has walked free from court after stealing more than £65,000 from a criminal gang – and is under police protection.
Graham McMurray, 50, was arrested after the money was found in a suitcase hidden up a chimney in his home.
McMurray is the uncle of Emma Rhys-Jones, 25, who lives with Wales superstar Gareth in Spain with their two children.
The family were caught up in a feud between a crime gang when a haul of up to £500,000 in cash, watches and cocaine allegedly went missing.
Three members of the family were hit by arson attacks when cars and homes in Cardiff and Flint, North Wales, were firebombed.
Bale, 27, was given an armed guards outside a hotel in Spain as details of the vendetta were revealed.
McMurray, dressed in a black suit, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of theft.
Prosecutor Helen Randall said McMurray was caught hiding the cash after a police investigation into criminal activity led them to his home.
She said: “The cash was discovered at his home as part of a wider investigation into criminal activity in the Cardiff area, and he was arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
“The search recovered cash totalling £65,090.”
McMurray told police in an interview the money had been kept in his parent’s home by “others” and he took the money to his own home to save them from potential repercussions.
Miss Randall said: “He told police he was too scared to do anything with the money. He said it was likely the money came from criminal behaviour.”
Jenny Yeo, defending, said McMurray had only moved the cash from his parents home out of concern for their safety.
She said: “He was not motivated by greed and didn’t have a real interest in the money.
“He removed it from his parents house because if his concern for them.
“He cared for his parents at that time and still does so.
“He made no attempt to keep the money or spend it. He was very concerned about the situation.”
Judge Eleri Rees said: “This was a extremely foolhardy offence to commit.
“It’s a very significant amount of money.
“I accept this wasn’t a sophisticated matter, but it was a deliberate removal of money.”
McMurray, formerly of Pontypridd, South Wales, was sentenced to 32 weeks in jail – but it was suspended for one year.
His parents John McMurray, 88 and wife Eva, 80, fled their home in Llanishen, Cardiff, in September when it was hit in an arson attack when petrol was poured through a letterbox.
The court heard the money was found at his former address in Pontypridd, South Wales, but he has now been moved to a safehouse.
It is believed other members of the family are under police protection.