Canoe-fraudster wife set to be released

Anne Darwin
Anne Darwin

INFAMOUS canoe wife Anne Darwin was expected to be released from prison today as it emerged her husband has been writing to another woman.

Anne, 59, will be set free from her cell in Askham Grange Prison, near York, after serving three years of her six-and-a-half-year sentence for a fraud.

She and her husband John, 60, who was released from jail in January, concocted an elaborate hoax to cash in on life insurance as they faced crippling debts at their home at The Cliff, Seaton Carew.

John faked his own death in a canoe on March 21, 2002, while wife Anne even duped their own sons Mark and Anthony into believing their dad was dead, putting them through the heartache of an inquest and even a funeral.

All the time though, John was living in their seafront home in a secret room before the pair moved to Panama.

Then, five years after his initial disappearance, he turned up at a police station claiming he had been suffering from amnesia.

During her trial at Teesside Crown Court, Anne claimed she was an unwilling participant in the scheme, but still raked in more than £600,000 in life insurance and pension payouts after his death.

The couple were sentenced in July 2008, with John pleading guilty to seven charges of obtaining cash by deception and Anne being found guilty of six charges of deception and nine of using criminal property.

John was released in January after serving half of his six-year stretch and is now living in Easington Colliery.

Reports in a national newspaper today claim the conman has been writing saucy letters to a woman named Lorraine Forbes, 43, leaving John and Anne’s 37-year marriage with an uncertain future.

Lorraine is believed to have started writing to John in February 2008 when he was still in prison.