Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Canoeist's Wife on Deception Charges; Sons of 'Back-from-the-Dead' Pair Are Victims, Say Police

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Canoeist's Wife on Deception Charges; Sons of 'Back-from-the-Dead' Pair Are Victims, Say Police

Article excerpt

Byline: By Rod Minchin

THE wife of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin was last night charged with two counts of deception, police said.

Anne Darwin, 55, will appear before Hartlepool Magistrates' Court this morning - the same court where her husband John, 57, was remanded in custody yesterday.

Cleveland Police said Mrs Darwin faces one charge of dishonestly obtaining pounds 25,000 by money transfer and one charge of obtaining pounds 137,000 by money transfer. The pounds 25,000 relates to a life insurance pay-out while the pounds 137,000 covers a policy to settle her mortgage in the event of her husband's "death". Both offences related to 2003.

The charges followed a police appeal for information about the couple's movements over the past five years.

Police said the couple's two sons were being treated as victims and are not suspects.

Detective Superintendent Tony Hutchinson said Anthony and Mark had both been "duped" and had been treated disgracefully.

"We are speaking to the sons and we are in regular contact with the sons," he said.

"Certainly as we sit here now there is nothing whatsoever to suggest that the sons of John and Anne are anything other than victims of this case.

"Of course, if that is the case, they have been duped in what can only be described as a really disgraceful fashion. They have been led to believe for the last five years that their father is dead. He then walks back into their lives with apparent amnesia.

"Certainly, if they were to be nothing other than victims, then our hearts do go out to them."

Darwin, a former teacher and prison officer, walked into a London police station 10 days ago claiming to be a missing person after vanishing five years ago in an apparent accident at sea.

He disappeared from his home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in March 2002, and was presumed drowned after his wrecked canoe was found.

Mrs Darwin, who had moved to Panama seven weeks before her husband's reappearance, initially claimed she was in "total shock" that her husband was still alive. …

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