‘I could no longer live a lie’ – Darwin

John Darwin
John Darwin

NOTORIOUS canoe fraudster John Darwin has revealed that he never expected to lose all the cash from his fake death scam.

The 60-year-old has revealed that he returned home from Panama as he “could no longer live a lie” and after five years and 295 days on the run, he wanted to be reunited with his sons Mark, 35, and Anthony, 32, who believed he was dead.

The former prison guard and his wife Anne had got away with the £680,000 scam based on his faked death and, with the sale of property which they had bought before the fraud, had made £1m, Darwin told a national newspaper.

But he has said the one thing John had not recknoned on losing after handing himself in was all his money.

He said: “I intended to do my time and go back to Panama. I knew we would have to give back the insurance money.

“But under the new Proceeds of Crime Act every property we had owned was confiscated. I did not think we would lose everything.”

His second life with a stolen identity came to an end on December 1, 2007.

He said: “I could not go to see Mark and Anthony at first in case they became implicated. So I walked into a police station near Savile Row and told an officer, ‘I have lost my wife shopping and I don’t know where she is’.

“They made some inquiries. I gave them the name of John Darwin – it was the first time I had used it in six years.”

Darwin’s details were eventually found, but the officer returned and said: “You are officially dead.”

Police contacted his two sons who came to see him, but Darwin says he did not tell them the truth and they initially severed all contact with their parents, but he said they are now in touch once again.

Anthony and his wife Louise took their son, the Darwins’ first grandchild, to meet Anne at Askham Grange open prison, near York, and they are now expecting their second child.

Mark, whose wife Flick is pregnant with their first child, is also in contact with them.