'Back-From-The-Dead' Canoeist 'Cheated On Wife'

The wife of "back-from-the-dead" canoeist John Darwin has appeared in court today to give her own account in the money laundering and deception case.

Anne Darwin told a jury that she forgave her husband after he cheated on her and that she considered leaving him but "didn't know how she would cope" without him.

Mrs Darwin also said that her husband "turned secretive" when he joined an internet role-playing game and that he flew out to Kansas in the US to meet a woman, who his wife believes he met while playing the game.

The defence team for Anne Darwin, 56, insists that she was the victim of "marital coercion" by her husband, who allegedly forced her into going along with a plan to fake his own death.

The jury at Teesside Crown Court has heard that the couple allegedly conspired to fraudulently claim £250,000 in pension and insurance funds and start a new life together in Panama.

Mrs Darwin told the court that her husband "would discuss things with her" but "her thoughts never seemed to carry any weight".

"He treated me like a second-year pupil" and "I would just be talked down to," she said.

Mrs Darwin added that she had "no idea" of the level of debt they were in and that her husband told her to wait until the red letter came for domestic bills before paying them.

"He was the one who dealt with the finances," she said.

She also told the court that they bought their first home in their property portfolio to "make up for her not having a pension".

Mrs Darwin, of Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, has denied six charges of deception and nine of money-laundering.

Her husband has already admitted deception and will be sentenced after his wife's trial.

Earlier this week, her sons Mark, 32, and Anthony, 29, told the court that their mother had "betrayed" them.

An email from Mrs Darwin asking her husband not to leave her, just hours before he handed himself in to a British police station last December, was read out in court.

The court heard that in the same email, Mrs Darwin said she loved and missed her husband.

Cleveland Police found 1,012 emails in John Darwin's account, of which 923 were unread.

It is understood that the deception came to light when a photograph of them together in Panama emerged in the summer of 2006.

Mr Darwin disappeared after a supposed canoeing accident in 2002.


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16 July 2008
Canoe Man 'Cried And Begged' To Come Home
The wife of 'back-from-the-dead' canoeist John Darwin has told Teesside Crown Court that he had cried and begged her to let him come home after staging his own death. Anne Darwin, 56, faces six charges of deception and nine charges of money laundering linked to insurance payments, in connection with her husband's disappearance.
18 July 2008
Wife Of 'Back-From-The-Dead' Canoeist 'Breaks Down' At Trial
The wife of "back-from-the-dead" canoeist John Darwin has broke down in tears in court. Giving evidence, Anne Darwin said her husband "forced her" into telling their sons that he had died in a canoeing accident.
23 July 2008
'Lost' Canoiest Wife Jailed
The wife of "back-from-the-dead" canoeist has been sentenced to six years and six months for fraud. Anne Darwin, 56, has been convicted at Teeside Crown Court for her role in claiming £250,00 after helping her husband fake his death.
24 July 2008
'Canoe' Couple Assets Frozen
The assets of John and Anne Darwin have been frozen in the first stage of the asset recovery operation. The 'back-from-the-dead' canoeist and his wife were each sentenced to six years for fraud. There is now a worldwide freeze on their assets and the process to reclaim £250,000 has begun through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
12 August 2008
Anne Darwin To Appeal Jail Sentence
The wife of the 'back-from-the-dead' canoeist John Darwin, has launched an appeal against her conviction and sentence, it has been revealed. Anne Darwin, 56, was found guilty of 15 charges of fraud and money laundering during a seven-day trial at Teeside Crown Court in July.