Canoe-con wife freed from jail

Dated: 23/07/08''Anne Darwin, from Seaton Carew, Teesside, whose husband went missing presumed drowned after a canoeing accident in 2002, has turned up alive and well 5 years later after handing himself in to a police station in London.' '#NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia
Dated: 23/07/08''Anne Darwin, from Seaton Carew, Teesside, whose husband went missing presumed drowned after a canoeing accident in 2002, has turned up alive and well 5 years later after handing himself in to a police station in London.' '#NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia

CANOE fraudster Anne Darwin has been released from prison almost three years after she was jailed.

Anne Darwin, 59, the wife of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin, was yesterday released from Askham Grange Prison, near York.

She was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison in July 2008 after a jury found her guilty of six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering.

She was released just under two years and eight months after she was sentenced and has been reported to be living in Leeds.

A car was seen driving out of the main gates of the prison at some speed at 6.45am yesterday morning.

It comes as it is reported that John Darwin, who is living in Easington Colliery, wants his wife back now they are both free.

John Darwin, 60, who was jailed for six years and three months after admitting seven charges of deception, was released in January.

The former prison officer admitted faking his own death in a canoeing accident to allow his wife to make fraudulent insurance and pension claims.

The crooked couple, who lived at The Cliff, Seaton Carew, embarked on a new life in Panama after the canoeman faked his death in March 2002 by vanishing off the coast.

The Darwins were jailed after Teesside Crown Court heard how they had deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their sons Mark and Anthony.

The couple’s plan to hoax insurers and pension schemes into believing Mr Darwin was dead was hatched as they faced losing their imposing seafront home.

They jetted to the Central American country of Panama before John Darwin flew back to the UK in 2007 and handed himself in to a central London police station, claiming he suffered amnesia and could remember nothing.

His wife, still in Panama, was tracked down by a journalist and pretended to be shocked at the back-from-the-dead miracle.

But her story collapsed when a photograph was found on the internet showing the smiling couple posing in a Panama estate agents.

Her defence of “marital coercion” was later undermined when the prosecution in her trial produced loving emails the couple sent each other.

The Ministry of Justice said it could not comment on individual cases.

A spokeswoman said: “All offenders subject to probation supervision on release from prison have to adhere to a set of strict conditions.

“They are subject to recall to custody if they breach their conditions or their behaviour indicates that it is no longer safe for them to remain in the community.”