How did John Darwin fake his death?

In 2002, prison officer John Darwin was pronounced dead after he disappeared while canoeing in the North Sea.

That turned out to be the case John never really missed and him, 71 and his ex-wife Anne69, were convicted of fraud.

John Darwin and his ex-wife Anne were convicted of fraud


John Darwin and his ex-wife Anne were convicted of fraudCredit: Handout

How did John Darwin fake his death?

Former teacher and prison officer Darwin faked his death after he was seen paddling out to sea in a canoe off the coast of Durham in March 2002.

Later that same day, he was reported missing after failing to show up for work, prompting a full-scale search at sea.

The paddle and canoe were found, but Darwin was nowhere to be seen.

He had instead gone ashore and hid in a tent to make the whole world believe he was dead – including his own two sons.

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Canoe Man John Darwin

John then returned to live in the bedroom next to his wife before moving back in with her.

The couple then moved to Panama under false names, but were forced to return to England after a change in visa laws.

It was in 2007, five years after his disappearance, that he revealed himself to be alive and feigned amnesia so police would not suspect him.

However, when a photo of the couple surfaced in Panama in 2006, their fraudulent activities were exposed.

Why did he fake his death?

Darwin owed massive debts and this forced him and his accomplice Anne to fake his death for an insurance fraud of £679,000.

After Darwin’s death certificate was issued stating that he died in March 2002, Anne was able to apply for life insurance.

Where did John Darwin live during the years of his disappearance?

During the years that Darwin was presumed dead, he moved into many places.

At first he lived in a single-family home next to his family’s home before secretly moving back in with Anne eleven months later.

It is said that someone who lived in bed recognized Darwin and questioned him, to which Darwin asked him not to say anything.

In 2004 the Darwins moved to Cyprus with John and used a false name on a passport.

The following year he spent time in Cornwall, America, Gibraltar and El Puerto de Santa Maria where he reportedly bought a catamaran.

The last stop on Darwin’s “tour” was Panama in 2006, where he spent the rest of the year before flying home.

Panama made changes to its immigration laws which meant that in order to obtain permanent residency Darwin needed a letter from the British police stating that he was “a person of good character”.

It was at this point that Darwin decided to return to Britain and surrender himself there the policeplea for amnesia.

How much money did John Darwin demand in insurance fraud?

Darwin claimed £679,000 in insurance fraud and received pension payments.

He was ordered to pay £40,000 to the authorities.

In 2008, the couple were both convicted.

Darwin was sentenced to six years and three months in prison after admitting eight counts of fraud.

Anne Darwin was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for fraud and money laundering. How did John Darwin fake his death?


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