CONMAN John Darwin faked his death in a staged canoeing accident with the help of his wife, Anne.
The 2002 stunt landed the pair £700k in insurance payouts, but the cunning couple were finally arrested in 2007. Here’s everything you need to know.
John Darwin faked his death in a canoeing accident in March 2002Credit: PA:Press Association
When were John and Anne Darwin arrested?
Faced with mounting debts from the purchase of two properties, John paddled out to sea off the coast of County Durham.
His then wife, Anne, raised the alarm when John failed to report for work later that day.
When the wreckage of his red kayak was found washed up on a beach several weeks after his disappearance, he was presumed to have perished in the sea and was declared dead.
However, he was very much alive and was hiding in a bedsit next to his family house, before later moving in with his wife.
John Darwin was declared dead when wreckage from his red kayak was foundCredit: Handout
John and Anne then moved to Panama in 2006 and bought a £200k tropical estate near the Panama Canal, with the aim of building a hotel and canoe resort.
Their new life the other side of the Atlantic was cut short, however, when changes to Panama’s visa laws required the identities of those living in the country to be verified by UK police.
John returned to the UK on December 1, 2007 knowing that the alias he had been using would not stand up to scrutiny, and so he handed himself in to a police station in London.
John faked amnesia and claimed to have no recollection of the previous five years, but he was arrested later that day by cops.
Anne was detained at Manchester Airport the following day upon her return to the UK.
Anne Darwin was found guilty of fraud and money launderingCredit: AFP
What were they charged with?
John was charged with insurance fraud and obtaining a passport by deception, while Anne was charged with fraud and money laundering.
They were also charged together for fraudulently obtaining money from a teacher’s pension scheme as well as money from the Department for Work and Pensions.
In March 2008, John admitted seven charges of insurance fraud and obtaining a passport by deception at Leeds Crown Court, and Anne denied six charges of fraud.
In July of that same year, John and Anne were convicted of fraud. John was sentenced to six years and three months, while Anne was sentenced to six years and six months.
The couple appealed against their sentences but the appeals were rejected by the Court of Appeal.
John was released on probation in January 2011 and Anne was released two months later.