Robert Maxwell’s ever-loyal widow Betty dies, aged 92

She is understood to have known nothing of crooked publishing mogul's £600m fraud

Betty Maxwell, the widow of crooked publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, has died having remained publically loyal to him long after he was unmasked.

She died aged 92 and had built herself an international reputation for research on the Holocaust, and in promoting understanding between the Jewish and Christian faiths.

Her husband drowned in 1991 in mysterious circumstances, his body being found floating in the Atlantic near the Canary Islands where he had been sailing his luxury yacht. Suicide or accident were widely regarded as the most likely cause of death but murder was also suggested.

But with the discovery of his body came the unravelling of his finances, and the revelation that the Daily Mirror owner had been stealing from the newspaper's pension fund, leaving thousands of workers with lost or severely reduced pensions. Dr Maxwell is understood to have known nothing of the £600 million fraud.

She had been loyal to him over the 45 years they were married, in the face of his frequently abysmal treatment of her and their children, and refused to speak out against him when he died. But she did once say when considering an afterlife: "God forbid that I should run into him again."

She was born in France and was brought up a Christian, marrying Robert Maxwell in 1945. It was the realisation that most of his family, being Jewish, had died under Nazi Germany that prompted her interest in the Holocaust.

Her family said in a statement: "Her devoting the rest of her life to work on the Holocaust and to Judaeo-Christian dialogue arose out of her profound need as a Christian to comprehend how such an event as the Holocaust could have happened in Christian Europe in the middle of the 20th Century and then to ensure through dissemination of the facts and teaching, that it could never happen again."