Prosecutors continue to chase John and Anne Darwin a decade after fraud uncovered

Prosecutors say they are continually monitoring canoe couple John and Anne Darwin as today marks 10 years since their world renowned fraud first came to light.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 1:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:49 am
John Darwin.

John and Anne Darwin were each found to have benefited to the tune of £679,194.62 from the con they hatched in 2002.

But he has only paid back £40,121, while Anne Darwin could still be ordered to pay back £177,000 after the selling off of all her assets raised £501,641.39 to be paid back.

Anne Darwin.

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John Darwin was reported missing in a canoe off the coast of Hartlepool in March 2002.

After he was declared dead, Anne collected more than £500,000 in life insurance payouts, while he hid in their home at The Cliff, Seaton Carew.

But he made headlines around the world when he walked into a London police station on December 1, 2007, claiming he had amnesia.

During the trial of Anne Darwin at Teesside Crown Court, it was found the couple hatched the plan for John to stage his own death before he spent years hiding away in secret compartments of their Seaton Carew home.

John Darwin after he returned to the UK and claimed he had amnesia.

It emerged he had stolen the identity of Sunderland tot John Jones so he could get a passport and travelled to Panama where he was joined by Anne.

But on December 1, 2007, John Darwin returned to the UK and walked into a London police station saying he believed he was a missing person.

John Darwin was jailed for six years after admitting fraud and Anne was later jailed for six-and-a-half years after being found guilty of fraud.

After they were jailed, proceedings started to claw back their ill-gotten gains.

Anne Darwin.

For each of them, the figure placed on their criminal benefit was £679,194.62.

Anne Darwin paid £501,641.39 under a confiscation order in 2009.

But John Darwin had only £121 available and a confiscation order for that amount was made at that time.

In March 2014, police became aware that John Darwin was to receive a further significant pay out in the form of pensions from his work as a prison officer and as a teacher.

Anne Darwin.

As he was in prison, he did not apply for these until his probation period finished in March 2014.

The pensions were to be paid in lump sums, with a monthly payout thereafter.

As a result, the original confiscation order against John Darwin was increased to £40,121 and a further £40,000 was seized from those lump sum payments.

The £40,000 brought the total amount paid in confiscation orders by the Darwins to £541,762 and 39 pence.

But prosecutors say they are still monitoring the couple’s finances and both could still face future proceeds of crime applications (POCA).

A spokesman for the CPS said: “The actions of both John and Anne Darwin are continually being reviewed and future POCA applications may still be made.”

John Darwin after he returned to the UK and claimed he had amnesia.

Nick Price, head of proceeds of crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This case really shows that fraud doesn’t pay.”

Anne Darwin.