Back-from-the-dead canoeist claims harassment

John Darwin
John Darwin
Have your say

BACK-FROM-THE-DEAD canoeist John Darwin has claimed a distraught Sunderland family are harassing him.

The Jones siblings, from Pallion, were innocently dragged into the fraudster’s case after he stole the identity of their dead baby brother John, to flee Britain and start a new life with his scam cash.

But the ex-prison officer complained to Durham Police after Alf Jones tried in vain to get answers from him, and has been branded a “coward” for refusing to explain his hurtful actions.

A force spokeswoman said: “We can confirm we have received a complaint of harassment of a man from the Easington Colliery area.

“Initial inquiries suggest no offence has been committed at this time.”

It came after Mr Jones left a letter at a house in Easington Colliery where Darwin had been living.

Durham Police also offered the kayak conman the chance to sit down and talk with Mr Jones, as part of its Restorative Justice scheme, where victims can meet offenders.

But Darwin, 60, refused the chance to explain himself to the 53-year-old and his six siblings, who were angered by the claim that his scam was victimless.

Despite the setback, Mr Jones has vowed he will get answers from the fraudster.

“I feel really angry. What kind of man is he? He is gutless and spineless. I think he is hiding behind the system.

“I have given him every chance under the sun and he has declined.

“As for harassing him and threatening him, I have never done that.

“I am annoyed, because I have tried above board and gone through all the correct channels.

“I am not going to let this drop and I want him to know that.”

Ever since Darwin resurfaced in 2007, after faking his own death off the coast at Seaton Carew, the close-knit Jones family has urged him to fully explain why he chose John’s name for his elaborate hoax.

The youngster was born in the East End at St Patrick’s Garth, on March 27, 1950, the first of nine children to Alfred John Jones and his wife Lily.

Born five weeks premature, baby John survived just 34 days. His body was laid to rest in Sunderland Cemetery, Grangetown.

After faking his death in 2002, Darwin travelled to Panama, claiming to be John Jones, where he and wife Anne would live.

He was jailed for six years and three months on seven charges of deception.

Anne was jailed for six-and-a-half years for six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering.

Both have been released on licence.