John Darwin hopes to be top author

John Darwin
John Darwin

CANOE man John Darwin is penning a series of prison diaries about his time behind bars and says they will be better than those written by shamed peer Jeffrey Archer.

Darwin, 62, plans to pen tales from his life in prison, which he hopes will be published.

Prisoners are not allowed to make money from writing about their crimes while serving time.

Darwin has already written The Canoe Man: Panama and Back and it is expected the book will be a sequel to that.

The dad of two, of Seaton Carew, said: “When I was in prison I did a lot of writing.

“I also read Jeffrey Archer’s books and I thought I could do better.

“I’m hoping to produce a sequel to my last book about life in prison.

“When you are in there you see all sorts of things.”

Archer wrote a series of prison diaries while in jail for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Mr Darwin and his wife Anne embarked on a new life in Panama after he faked his death in March 2002 by apparently vanishing off the coast in a supposed canoeing accident.

He turned up at a police station in November 2007, claiming he was a missing person with amnesia, but the ruse fell to pieces when a photo taken in Panama of the couple turned up on the internet.

During the trial at Teesside Crown Court in 2008 the jury heard they tricked police, a coroner, financial institutions and even sons Mark and Anthony into believing the ex-prison officer was dead.

Darwin got a passport in the name of a dead Sunderland baby and lived secretly with his wife.

He then travelled to Panama where they bought a flat and planned an ecology tourism business together.

But, weeks after his wife sold off their UK properties and joined him in the Central American nation in late 2007, he walked into a police station in London and said he had amnesia.

During the trial, Anne Darwin claimed she was forced into the scam by her husband, but she was jailed for six-and-a-half years for her part in the swindle.

Her husband was sent to prison for six years and three months.

A confiscation hearing in 2009 was told that the Darwins benefited to the sum of £679,194.62 from the fraud, but at that time their realisable assets amounted to just under £592,000.