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IN 2002, prison officer John Darwin was pronounced dead after he disappeared while canoeing in the North Sea.
John Darwin and his ex-wife Anne were convicted of fraudCredit: Handout
How did John Darwin fake his death?
Ex-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 the same day, he was reported missing after failing to show up for work, resulting in a large-scale sea search.
The paddle and the canoe were found but there was no sign of Darwin.
He had instead gone ashore and hidden in a tent, letting the whole world believe he was dead – including his own two sons.
John then returned to live in the bedsit next door to his wife, before moving back in with her.
The pair then moved to Panama, using a fake name but had to return to England when visa laws changed.
It was in 2007, five years after his disappearance, when he revealed himself to be alive, faking amnesia so the police didn’t suspect him.
However, when a photo emerged of the couple in Panama in 2006, their fraudulent activity was revealed.
Why did he fake his death?
Darwin owed massive debts and this forced him and his accomplice, Anne, to fake his death for a £679,000 insurance scam.
Once Darwin’s death certificate was issued stating he died in March 2002, Anne was able to claim life insurance.
Where did John Darwin live during the years of his disappearance?
During the years Darwin was presumed dead, he took up occupancy in many places.
To begin with, he lived in a bedsit next door to his family home, before secretly moving back in with Anne 11 months later.
It is alleged someone staying in the bedsit recognised Darwin and questioned him, to which Darwin asked him not to say anything.
In 2004, the Darwins moved to Cyprus with John using a fake name for a passport.
The following year, he spent time in Cornwall, America, Gibraltar and El Puerto de Santa Maria, where it is said he bought a catamaran.
The last stop on Darwin’s ‘tour’ was Panama in 2006, where he spent the remaining year before flying home.
Panama made changes to their immigration laws which meant that to gain permenant residence, Darwin needed a letter from Britain police stating that he was ‘a person of good character’.
That is when Darwin decided to move back to the UK and hand himself in to the police, pleading amnesia.
How much money did John Darwin claim in insurance fraud?
Darwin claimed £679,000 in insurance fraud as well as receiving pension payouts.
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 deception charges.
Anne Darwin was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for fraud and money-laundering.