Mixed reaction to John Darwin’s release

David Young.
David Young.

PEOPLE in Seaton Carew had mixed views about canoe man John Darwin’s release from prison.

Residents in the seaside resort had to get used to international news crews camping on their doorsteps when the original story broke in December 2007 and they were back in the media spotlight yesterday.

Catharina Hodgman.

Catharina Hodgman.

Dad of-three and grandfather-of-two Frank Poole, 77, a retired electrician who lives near The Front, in Seaton Carew, said: “He might come back to live here you never know. That would be good because it’d bring in all the tourists.

“You never know he might be in the Olympics next year in the canoeing or even the white water rafting if they won’t trust him with a canoe.”

Malcolm Pugh, 51, from the Headland, Hartlepool, said: “He got what he deserved in the end and he’s done his time. He’s the same as everybody else as far as serving his sentence is concerned.

“There’s a lot worse things in the world than what he’s done, so I suppose he should just be left now to get on with his life.

Frank Poole.

Frank Poole.

“He’s put Seaton Carew on the map and I think people will always remember how he made it ‘Seaton Canoe’. Everybody knows Seaton now and it’s because of him.”

Dad-of-two and grandfad-of-six Dave Young, 66, owner of Young’s Fisheries, said: “I don’t think he’ll come back here. He’s got nothing to come back for really.

“Half a canoe isn’t going to be any good for him is it.

“To be quite honest I never thought he’d show his face here again so I was quite surprised to hear people saying he’s back.

“I’m not sure whether I’d even recognise him if he did walk in the shop for fish and chips, although you never know until it happens.”

Dave’s daughter, Catharina Hodgman, 37, a mum of three who has worked in the fish shop since she was 14, said: “We probably have served him here in my opinion. Whether it was before the whole canoe incident, or afterwards when he grew the big beard, I don’t know, but I think we will have.

“I’m surprised to hear he’s back, I didn’t think he would want to be showing his face around here again, but you never know.”

l Have you seen John Darwin? Contact the newsdesk on (01429) 239380 or email mail.news@northeast-press.co.uk