'I'll feel guilty until I die,' canoe fake death wife Anne Darwin tells TV's Victoria Derbyshire

Anne and John Darwin.
Anne and John Darwin.
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The ex-wife of John Darwin has admitted she will feel guilt for the rest of her life after lying to her children over their father's faked death in a staged canoe accident.

Anne Darwin hid her then husband in in their Seaton Carew home for several years, after he pretended to go missing on a canoe trip in the North Sea in 2002.

She falsely claimed £250,000 in insurance and other payments, telling her two sons Mark and Anthony their father had died.

The couple were jailed in 2008 after their story unravelled following John Darwin's sudden reappearance, when he claimed to police he had amnesia.

Anne appeared on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme saying she she was now "happy" after going through what she said had been a "living nightmare".

"I was leading two lives," she told Victoria Derbyshire.

"I was going through the emotions of living the life of a widow and, I suppose, I was performing that life in a way that I thought people would expect me to under the circumstances.

"It certainly wasn't an easy thing to do, but the emotions that people saw weren't an act. They were genuine emotions, but the emotions were for different reasons, because of how I was feeling about what I was putting the boys through.

"And seeing their pain was unbearable. But people felt the emotions they saw were ones of my own grief. But it wasn't that way at all. It was just a living nightmare."

Anne decided to separate from her husband after seeing a psychologist while in prison.

She said although he was "controlling", she could not blame her ex-husband "100%" for her decision to go along with his plan.

Anne now works for the RSPCA and her ex-husband lives in the Philippines.

"I am happy. I'm comfortable in my own skin," she said in the interview.

"I have no feelings towards [Mr Darwin] whatsoever. Completely zero. No emotion whatsoever."

::The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays between 09:00 and 11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News channel.