'Drowned' canoeist from the UK who faked his own disappearance *update on p. 6*

  1. From the Daily Mail


    A man who turned up in London five years after being presumed dead says he cannot remember anything about the missing time, police said today. The mystery of John Darwin, 57, deepened this evening when it emerged that his wife Anne, 55, sold the family home less than a month ago for £295,000. Mrs Darwin, a doctor's receptionist, is understood to be living in Panama City in central America after opening a bank account there.

    Mr Darwin, a science teacher for 18 years, was a serving prison officer when he was thought to have drowned in March 2002. The remains of his red canoe were washed up on a beach near the couple's home at Seaton Carew near Hartlepool. Officers said Mr Darwin could remember only his name when he walked into West End Central police station on Saturday saying: "I think I am a missing person."

    His identity was confirmed by his two sons Mark, 31, and Anthony, 29. His father Ronald, 91, said he could not wait to embrace his son. "I never, ever gave up hope I would see him again," said the former builder from Co Durham. He added: "In wartime a soldier gets used to not seeing his family. When he comes through the door, I will just give him a nice hug and kiss. "I will be over the moon. He must have had enough of it now and he's handed himself into the police. I will tell him, 'Well done', and I want to find out what's happened to him." He said his son had been hit by a car as a child and suffered a head injury which could have triggered amnesia.

    Cleveland police today said it was trying to piece together Mr Darwin's movements and would be questioning him. The Association of British Insurers said a missing person is officially declared dead after seven years. Relatives can apply to court to have a family member declared dead earlier than that where there is "compelling circumstantial evidence". Insurance companies can also choose to pay out on life insurance policies earlier than seven years — with or without a court declaration — even when no body has been found.

    Speaking six months after he vanished, Mrs Darwin said: "People die, have a funeral, they have a headstone, there is something to mark the fact they existed on this earth.

    But without a body I don't know how we can mark John's life. "All I want to do is bury his body. It would enable me to move on. It's difficult to grieve without bringing things to a close, but as it is I'm in limbo and there's nothing I can do." The British embassy in Panama confirmed that the Foreign Office had contacted officials there yesterday in order to trace Mrs Darwin. But she was not registered with the embassy and they could not find her. It is understood that as well as the family home, she sold another property in the North-East about a month ago. The couple's son Mark, who lives in north London, gave up his job a fortnight ago.

    Anthony, who is married and living in Basingstoke, refused to comment on his father's reappearance. At West End Central, Inspector Helen Eustace said: "The guy can't remember anything about what's happened or why he's come forward. "He has no memory at all. He has obviously been somewhere for the last five years and a lot of questions need answering." Ms Eustace said he was "showing no signs of illness" following a health check.

    Mr Darwin, who was working at Holme House prison in Stockton, was seen going into the sea near Seaton Carew with his kayak at 8am on Thursday, 21 March, 2002. The alarm was not raised until the following night when he failed to turn up for a night shift.
    A massive search failed to find him. Mr Darwin's brother David, 54, who lives in Barnet, said today: "It is the best Christmas present any family could wish for. "I have no idea where John has been or what he's been doing."
  2. Wow, what a crazy story!!
  3. Wow, what a story. I wonder why his wife moved to Panama?
  4. ^^

    I wonder if she knew he was alive and was afraid she'd have to give back the insurance money? Something is weird with that IMO....
  5. whoa, that's almost unbelieveable but so cool at the same time! so happy for his family who are glad to have him back :smile:
  6. wow, but did the insurance compant pay her already.. Did i Miss that in the article?
    where in the hell has he been...geez
  7. Agreed, the sudden move to Panama is highly odd.
  8. Yeah doesn't sound quite right...why would she randomly have a bank account in Panama?

    At least the man is ok though...it sounds as if he had a pretty traumatizing 5 years, wherever he was.
  9. I wonder how he survived during those 5 years? :shrugs:
  10. amazing story indeed!

    She waited close to 5 years to move. . . doesn't seem odd to me. Am I missing something?
    I do't find it weird to move:shrugs:
  11. I wonder if they faked his disappearance so he could be legally declared dead, they collect the money and then live happily ever after? :s
  12. I agree. But why all the way to Panama? :s
  13. I doubt this Roo, since they had to know if he showed up and identified himself, that would put her under suspiscion for insurance fraud. But the article doesn't say whether or not the insurnaces paid anything... but she did sell property.

    Wierddddd story.
  14. Very interesting.
  15. Maybe he called home and before he could get home his wife took the money and ran............

    I don't think it is a everyday thing for most people to do is sell their house and move to a different country when you have children and possibly grandchildren alive....in the country you live in. I would find it very hard to leave my children even if they were adults...I would want to be near them.
    For some reason she wanted to go with the money.................