Canoe fraudster John Darwin back in court as police probe finances

John Darwin
John Darwin

BACK-FROM-THE DEAD canoe fraudster John Darwin is set to appear in court again after a new police investigation has been launched into his finances.

The 63-year-old, from Hartlepool, faked his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his then-wife Ann could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds.

But he now faces a new police probe under the Proceeds of Crime Act and is set to appear at Teesside Crown Court next week.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that the Regional Asset Recovery Team is conducting an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) and that a directions hearing is scheduled for April 8 at Teesside Crown Court. The POCA legislation determines a value of how much a person benefited from crime and what they can afford to pay back.

“Police may revisit historic confiscation cases if it’s found that an individual has come into the possession of further assets and there is an outstanding amount on an order.”

After faking his own death in 2002, Darwin – then from The Cliff, in Seaton Carew – continued to live in secret with his wife before they escaped to Panama to start a new life.

But in December 2007 he walked into a London police station, claiming he had amnesia before being reunited with his stunned sons. His wife, then still in Panama, initially also claimed to be surprised - until a photograph emerged of them together.

He was jailed for six years and three months.