Insurance fraud couple fined £600,000

Canoe death couple taken to court

Travel Insurance News - 12/11/2009

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Husband and wife Anne and John Darwin thought they couldn’t lose when they staged John Darwin’s death in March 2002. The couple, who come from Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool faked John Darwin’s death, claiming that he had drowned in a canoeing accident. They then embarked on a new life together in Panama, collecting a large sum for his life insurance.

In a recent court hearing it was revealed that the couple went to great lengths to fool the police, a coroner and financial institutions into believing that John Darwin was dead in order to collect his life insurance fee. They and even went as far as to trick their sons Mark, 34, and Anthony, 31, into believing the story.

The couple managed to obtain a passport in the name of dead Sunderland baby John Jones. Mr Darwin then traveled to Panama, bought and laid plans to start an ecology tourism business with his wife. However, the couple’s plans were shattered when a photo of the couple together in Panama made its way onto the internet.

In an attempt to keep up the façade, John Darwin went to a police station in London, claiming amnesia. But the officers were not fooled and the couple were arrested for fraud.

Anne Darwin, 57, was jailed for six and a half years after a jury found her guilty of six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering while her husband, 58, was jailed for six years and three months after admitting seven charges of deception.

In the court case, which took place earlier this week, Anne Darwin was ordered to pay £600,000 in compensation.

News reporter Gerard Tubb was in court when the ruling was announced. In a statement he said that: "In 2007, Darwin valued the property in Panama at $1m, emailing his wife to tell her and telling her 'You're a filthy rich gringo'. It's not at all clear but if they manage to sell the land for more than that, there's a possibility that they might end up still in the money."

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