Darwin letters go under hammer

Dated: 24/01/2011'John Darwin, the ' Canoe man' who faked his own death to escape debts,  leaving Durham County Council offices  in Easington  this morning after his release from prison.' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 24/01/2011'John Darwin, the ' Canoe man' who faked his own death to escape debts, leaving Durham County Council offices in Easington this morning after his release from prison.' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES

HANDWRITTEN letters from canoe conman John Darwin will go under the hammer next week in a high-profile autograph auction.

Darwin, who fled to Panama after faking his own death in a supposed canoeing accident in 2002, sent letters to pal Gem Reynolds from his prison cell between October and December 2009.

In his letters, Darwin, formerly of The Cliff, Seaton Carew, discussed his dogs and family as well as going into detail about his infamous disappearance.

In one of the letters he wrote: “I came back to the UK to repay the money and to see my two sons. However, I was ignorant of the proceeds of Crime Act, and didn’t realise that everything that I’d ever worked for would be confiscated.

“Perhaps if I had, then I may not have returned. As for the manner of my return, simple. I wanted, beyond doubt, the fact that my sons did not know I was alive until the police actually contacted them.”

Darwin, now 61, and his wife Anne, 60, were jailed for a total of more than 12 years in 2008.

Both were released from their fraud sentences earlier this year.

The letters, along with a Christmas card, will go under the hammer at an event held by the International Autograph Auction group at the Radisson Hotel in Heathrow next week.

The letters are predicted to fetch between £100 and £150 from collectors.

Other lots going under the hammer include signatures from cricketing legend WG Grace, which starts at £300, and England football shirt signed by David Beckham and various autographed pictures of George Best.

Signatures from Robert De Niro, Ingrid Bergman and Charlie Chaplin are all expected to attract big bids, though the most expensive piece of memorabilia on offer is a photo signed by all The Beatles, which is predicted to rake in at least £12,000.