Darwin sighting provides food for thought

John Darwin
John Darwin

NOTORIOUS fraudster John Darwin was caught on camera leaving a restaurant named after him following his insurance scam.

Despite the shame of being jailed for six years after faking his own death to cash in on life insurance, the back-from-the-dead canoeist is a regular visitor to the Darwin Room at The Staincliffe Hotel, in Seaton Carew.

The hotel is just yards away from his former home on The Cliff where he hid away in a secret cupboard after apparently perishing at sea.

Darwin, 61, is reported to be happy to chat to guests about the crime he committed with wife Anne that saw them start a new life together in Panama.

But his visits are understood to have proved controversial with some people who think he is revelling in the attention.

In an exclusive interview with the Hartlepool Mail last year Darwin, who is back living in Seaton Carew, told how he enjoys a daily visit to the Canoe Bar.

The Staincliffe Hotel renamed its on-site bar The Canoe Bar and called the revamped eaterie The Darwin Room after a £250,000 revamp three years ago.

Owner Brian Morton declined to comment about Darwin’s visits when contacted by the Mail.

Darwin was released from Moorland Open Prison, South Yorkshire, half way through his six years and three month jail sentence last year.

Estranged wife Anne was released just weeks later from Askham Grange Prison, near York, after serving just over two years and eight months – half of her six-and-a-half year sentence.

She is now living in a flat in York.

Anne is reported to be getting on with her life but there are no signs of a reconciliation with John.