Canoeist Missing For Five Years Turns Up Alive

rynner2

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#31
Canoeist photo genuine, says wife

A canoeist who went missing for five years before reappearing at the weekend has been taken to a police station in north-east England for questioning.
John Darwin, 57, was arrested by Cleveland Police on suspicion of fraud after being reunited with his two sons.

He was presumed dead after going missing off Hartlepool in March 2002, but reappeared on Saturday.

Newspapers have reported his wife Anne has admitted a photo of the couple, apparently taken in Panama, is genuine.
...............
Mr Darwin hid behind a newspaper as the car reached the police station

......................................
The Daily Mirror newspaper published a photo which apparently showed the Darwins pictured in an apartment in Panama last year.

Cleveland Police said the photo would be examined as part of their investigation.

But in several newspapers today, 55-year-old Mrs Darwin describes her life as a nightmare, and the situation she finds herself in, as a mess.

She is reported as confirming that the photo is genuine.

Mr Darwin was reunited with his sons and arrested by police at the home of one of them in Hampshire late on Tuesday, before being driven to the North East.

Mr Darwin covered his head with a newspaper as he arrived at the police station, flanked by two officers just before 2330 GMT on Wednesday night.

He was due to undergo a medical examination before being questioned later.
.....................
The detective leading the case also said police may be questioning Mr Darwin's wife Anne, who emigrated to Panama six weeks ago.

Det Supt Tony Hutchinson revealed the case had been reopened earlier in the year at a news conference on Wednesday.

He said: "There was some information which was reported to us three months ago to suggest that perhaps there was something suspicious with regards to his disappearance, and as a result of that information we then began to conduct some inquiries on a financial basis.

"Certainly three months ago we did not know that John Darwin was alive, and we did not know that until he walked into the police station on Saturday morning.

"But it is fair to say that we were conducting some inquiries as a result of some information we had which raised some suspicions."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7130046.stm

Now we need to know who the whistle-blower is! 8)
 

Quake42

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#33
Now we need to know who the whistle-blower is!
There was something in the Metro on I think Tuesday morning saying that rumours had been circulating in his home town for a while that he was still alive and that he may even have lived there for a time. There was also a throwaway reference to a credit card application made in his name. If so, that is probably the "financial information" the police are following up.
 

Fizz32

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#34
So, let me get this straight in my head.

This couple appear to have staged the husband's disappearance, waited until the insurance payouts came through, sold up and planned to move to Panama.

The naivete of this couple has me amazed - surely they would know that they would have to keep him well hidden, and certainly not allow anyone to take his picture. I've read that his bank account was accessed at times too.

But the main thing that stuns me is the fact that they have put their children through unspeakable worry, uncertainty and finally grief for their father, all for the sake of money. I know people are cold hearted enough to do such things, I just can't understand how.
 
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#35
Well, now it seems that one of junior Darwins has pulled a vanishing act.

THE son of ’missing’ canoeist John Darwin is feared to have done a moonlight runner from his North London home, leaving printed instructions for his girlfriend on how to get to City airport.

His flatmates called the police this morning after Mark Darwin, 31, returned in the middle of the night and cleared out his room.

He left only instructions on getting to City airport, and a rambling notebook labelled ’Instructions to Felicity’ addressed to his girlfriend Felicity Witts.

Speaking at the address in Brent Way, West Finchley, his flatmate said: “He’s come back here last night and taken all his stuff when we were all sleeping. He has taken his laptop.

“There’s a notebook with instructions for Felicity. The police are going to come and pick up the notebook.

“It’s got some strange stuff in it and there are poems in it. It’s got codes on it and stuff about going to phoneboxes and not telling people your name.

“It might all be perfectly innocent but the notebook is very suspicious and the fact that he’s left without telling us. I think there were references to Panama in it.

“It had instructions on it. It was a really strange note, like obsessive compulsive, like someone writing something over and over. I'm a bit freaked out.

“I don’t know if he wanted it found, I would doubt it.”
source
Curiouser and curiouser...
 

Yithian

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#36
“It’s got some strange stuff in it and there are poems in it. It’s got codes on it and stuff about going to phoneboxes and not telling people your name.

“It might all be perfectly innocent"
...umm, how about 'probably not'.
 

Fizz32

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#37
I've just heard on Radio 4 that both sons had left their jobs recently - one in August and the other last Friday.

WTF is going on here?
 

PeniG

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#39
So, was that the third-act turn, or are we in for an even bigger surprise?

I'd rather find out that the missing son was in on the scam than otherwise, right now, because if he wasn't, and he's fragile, and the stress of losing his dad, finding his dad, and discovering his dad and mother are dishonest and willing to put him through hell for monetary gain breaks him - that makes it a tragedy instead of a farce. In fiction, I like a tragedy as much as the next drama queen; in real life, gimme farce.
 

rynner2

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#40
Looks like the sons were fooled as well...

Neighbour 'met Darwin in Panama'

"Missing" canoeist John Darwin arrived in Panama in July, a neighbour who says she met him has told the BBC.
Patricia Centella de Lopez said he told her that he and his wife planned to live in her apartment block for a year while they looked for a farm to buy.

Earlier, Mr Darwin's sons Anthony and Mark said they felt they were "the victims of a large scam".

Mr Darwin reappeared after disappearing in 2002 off the coast of Hartlepool in an apparent canoeing tragedy.

He was arrested by Cleveland Police on suspicion of fraud after walking into a London police station at the weekend.

Mrs de Lopez told the BBC she had "no doubt" the man who lived in her building was John Darwin.

"Last July I met a new neighbour in the building. When I speak with him, he told me he was new in the building. He told me his name was John," she said.

Mrs de Lopez said he told her he was from Europe and his wife was there doing some business and would join him later.

The last time she said she saw them together was the final weekend of November.
She said they lived on the fourth floor of the building in Panama City while she lived on the second.

'Very much alive'

Mrs Darwin, 55, has admitted to newspapers that a photo of her and her husband taken last year in Panama is genuine.

She sold the family home on Teesside and moved to Panama six weeks ago.

In a statement released through Cleveland Police, the couple's sons asked how their mother could have let them believe their father was dead for five years.

They said they had been through a "rollercoaster of emotion" since their father's reappearance.

They said: "Having seen the recent media speculation surrounding our parents ever since our dad was arrested, we are very much in an angry and confused state of mind.

"In the short space of time following our dad's appearance in London on Saturday, we have gone through a rollercoaster of emotion.

"From the height of elation at finding him to be alive to the depths of despair at the recent stories of fraud and these latest pictures. And the shock of being thrust into the media spotlight.

"If the papers' allegations of a confession from our mam are true then we very much feel that we have been the victims in a large scam.

"How could our mam continue to let us believe our dad had died when he was very much alive?"

Mr and Mrs Darwin's sons said that they had not spoken to either of their parents since their father's arrest.

It has also emerged that both sons have recently left their jobs - one in property and one in insurance.

Declared dead

Cleveland Police said detectives had been given the go-ahead to interview Mr Darwin.

A police spokeswoman said: "John Darwin has been medically examined and has been declared fit for interview."

The spokeswoman said that officers had until just before midnight on Thursday to question him, after which time a superintendent's extension could be granted for a further 12 hours.

Mr Darwin, 57, was arrested on suspicion of fraud at his son Anthony's home early on Wednesday morning. He is currently at Kirkleatham Police Station.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7131548.stm
 

GNC

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#41
If these two chancers really want money they can now sell the film rights.
 

Rrose_Selavy

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#42
I just wonder if the shocked kids are really in the dark as the rest of us or like turning himself in as an Amnesiac he, now his wife , is trying not to implicate them as well.

Oh what a tangled web we weave.

Just hope they don't start digging up the patio.... :shock:
 

rynner2

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#43
gncxx said:
If these two chancers really want money they can now sell the film rights.
Not if they're convicted of anything criminal - it's the Law!
 

maximus otter

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#45
"John Darwin, the mystery canoeist, is "partially" regaining his memory but cannot explain how he came "back from the dead".

Family friends told how the 57-year-old former prison officer, who resurfaced this week after being missing for five years, now remembers being in Panama with his wife last year.

However, he insists he has no memory of the events of 2002, when he went missing, presumed dead, after a canoeing accident in the North Sea."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... noe107.xml

Oh, for ****'s sake, pal, just admit it!

This reminds me of so many interviews I conducted as a police officer:

1. The suspect denies any involvement in the burglary, and states he's never even been to the address.

2. I produce DNA evidence connecting him to the address.

3. Break in interview while suspect confers with his brief.

4. "Oh, that 23, High Street, Anytown!" Of course he's been there, but he's never met his co-accused Billy Smith.

5. I produce CCTV stills showing him in a 30-minute conversation with Billy Smith, who's also bonking his sister.

6. Break in interview while suspect confers with his brief.

7. "Oh, that Billy Smith!"! Of course he knows him, but he never even saw the bicycle stolen in the burglary.

8. I produce the statement of the PC who checked him, riding the stolen bicycle, 30 minutes after the burglary.

9. Break in interview while suspect confers with his brief.

10. "Oh, that bicycle!"

Etc., ad nauseam...

:roll:

maximus otter
 

rynner2

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#46
Now it all begins to come out...

Canoeist 'lived at family home'

The wife of a man presumed drowned in a 2002 canoe accident has said he lived in part of the family home for three years after being declared dead.
Anne Darwin said her husband hid in a bedsit in a house they owned next door when family or friends visited to prevent them discovering the truth.

John Darwin, 57, vanished from the Hartlepool area in March 2002.

He walked into a police station last week claiming amnesia and is now being questioned on suspicion of fraud.

Cleveland Police have been granted an extra 36 hours to question him and may apply for a further extension if necessary.

Police also want to speak to Mrs Darwin, 55, who sold the family home in Seaton Carew and moved to Panama six weeks ago.

She is thought to be in Miami but expected to return to the UK this weekend.

'Hid in bedsit'

Mrs Darwin told reporters her husband plotted his Reggie Perrin-style disappearance to escape debts "in the tens of thousands".

"John said there was only one way out of the situation, and that was to fake his death. I pleaded with him not to do it, I said it was the wrong thing to do," she said.

Mrs Darwin maintains she did not know he had gone ahead with the scam until he turned up on her doorstep in Seaton Carew 11 months after going missing, looking like he had been "living rough".

She claimed he threatened to say she was involved from the start if she reported him.

"He lived at the house with me for three years. We lived as man and wife," she added.

Mr Darwin was declared dead by a coroner in 2003.

Mrs Darwin has previously said she claimed on his life insurance "in good faith" but has now told reporters she knew he was alive before the pay out.

'Missed sons'

She said he lived with her in the main family home most of the time and hid in a small bedsit in a house they owned next door when guests or their two sons, Anthony and Mark, visited.

The lure of Panama

"They were tortured. And yes, it was hard to keep up the front. I so wanted to tell them but I was in too deep, how could I possibly explain to them that I'd known their father was alive?" she told journalists.

Both sons have said they want nothing more to do with their mother or father.

They insist they did not know their father was alive and say they are furious at being made the victims of what they describe as a "large scam".

Mr and Mrs Darwin later bought an apartment in Panama and she moved there seven weeks ago after selling up in England. But he had to come back because he could not remain without a visa and missed their sons, according to reports.

Police say they have received calls from "all over the world" after appealing for information about Mr Darwin.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7133961.stm
 

rynner2

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#47
..and the Times has this:

John Darwin ‘hoped to offer canoe holidays at his tropical retreat’
On the shores of an idyllic lake, The Times tracks down the hideaway that couple planned to develop as an ecotourism centre
David Sharrock in Escobal, Panama

The secret tropical estate to which John and Anne Darwin planned to disappear has been tracked down by The Times.

Bought six months ago it lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal and was discovered at the end of a complex paper trail designed to conceal the identities of its new owners. The site, located on the shores of a freshwater lake, is popular with adventure canoeists and seems like the ultimate hideaway in a country renowned for what may politely be described as financial discretion.

While police in Cleveland were granted a further 36 hours yesterday to question the former prison officer who was believed drowned five years ago, The Times can reveal that he and his “widow” were planning to develop an eco-tourism resort. They had promised to bring jobs and prosperity to a backward region of this Central American republic.

The collapse of the fantasy world of the Darwins, however, has dealt a heavy blow to the village of Escobal, where their grandiose hotel scheme is known by all simply as “el Proyecto” — the Project.

John and Anne Darwin set their plan in motion to invest half a million US dollars in property in Panama in April this year, via a company called Jaguar Properties Corporation SA, inside which they could disappear.

They spent $90,000 (£44,390) on a two-bedroom apartment in a middle-class district of Panama City — $56,000 of which was for the building and the rest for fixtures and fittings — and a further $389,711 on the purchase of “Finca no. 1031” also known as Finca Escobal, a 194-hectare plot of virgin forest on the banks of Lake Gatún.

The property company that helped the Darwins to find the estate told The Times that it was fully co-operating with the British authorities in the investigation into the money trail.

The rugged “finca” consists of forest that is home to tapirs and toucans, situated on the outskirts of the village of Escobal in Colón, a province of Panama that Sir Francis Drake called “the treasure trove of the world”. Another English traveller was less flattering. “In all the world there is not, perhaps, now concentrated in a single spot so much swindling and villainy,” James Froude wrote in 1886.

It seems possible that Mr Darwin, 57, was planning to offer customers the ultimate kayaking holiday.

The purchase went through on June 11, at the same time that the Darwins paid for the two-bedroom apartment in Panama City.

In the rutted, single street running through Escobal, where dogs laid motionless in the heat and chickens pecked at weeds, locals nodded as they recognised the Darwins in the now famous photograph that exposed their deception. But they also produced a newer picture of Mr Darwin, taken in July, inspecting piles of rubbish tipped illegally on his land. A letter of complaint to Jaime Luna, the municipal chief of Escobal, is signed “Anne Darwin, President and legal representative Jaguar Properties Corporation”.

Mrs Darwin, 55, warned the local chief that fly-tipping was endangering her company’s investment and the viability of its tourism project, which was going to “provide a great economic impulse” to Escobal. She would soon be bringing tourists to the area “and we do not want to present a bad image that might affect our investment and consequently the economic benefits to the region”.

Police are now awaiting her return to Britain and confirmed that she would face arrest once she landed.

Leticia Escobar, the secretary to the town council of Escobal, said: “They told us they represented a consortium and had been looking all over Panama for the right location for their investment.

“They presented themselves as husband and wife, but now we’ve heard all about how he allegedly faked his death to get the insurance. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the land but I suppose the hotel will never be built now.”

Julio Nuñez, a municipal policeman who helped to secure the Darwins’ estate with a wire fence and signs warning off trespassers, showed The Times around the land, pointing out the spectacular lake and jungle views.

“They visited here twice after buying the land. They planned to build a cable car from the hotel through the trees down to the water, where you can kayak on the lake. They didn’t speak much Spanish but they did tell us they were married.”

Briseida Bracho, the town magistrate who registered the land purchase, said: “We were really happy they bought the land and with their plan to create the eco-tourism resort because it meant jobs for the town. But we didn’t know their circumstances, they didn’t say anything about that.

“I was shocked when I saw Anne’s face in the newspaper and read that her husband had disappeared.”

Manuel Cupas Fernandez, a respected lawyer and public notary, who was a prominent opponent of Panama´s General Noriega, confirmed that in April he was given a special power of attorney to purchase the city flat and the land by Jaguar Properties Corporation SA. “I met Anne and she mentioned that she was a widow and wanted to buy some properties, that she was planning to move here. She said that she had to sell some properties in England. She always said that she was a widow and I also met John, but she introduced him to me as a friend of hers. She said that she was planning to move to Escobal.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 019147.ece
 

rynner2

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#50
...but in RL it looks like it'll end in tears:

Canoeist wife arrested back in UK

The wife of John Darwin, the canoeist who turned up after being presumed dead, has been arrested as she arrived back in the UK.
Anne Darwin, who had been living in Panama, was arrested at 0925 GMT at Manchester Airport.

She was detained over allegations of fraud and is expected to face questioning by detectives later.

Cleveland Police have already charged John Darwin, 57, a former prison officer, with deception offences.

Mrs Darwin has since left the airport.

Questioning

A spokeswoman for Cleveland police confirmed Mrs Darwin's arrest.

She said: "Anne Darwin has been arrested and detained by police at Manchester Airport, having returned this morning on an overnight flight from Atlanta."

The spokeswoman said Mrs Darwin would be escorted by police officers back to Cleveland.

Mrs Darwin's detention follows the arrest of Mr Darwin at his son's house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on Tuesday on suspicion of fraud.

etc

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7135079.stm
 

stu neville

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#51
rynner said:
She said: "Anne Darwin has been arrested and detained by police at Manchester Airport, having returned this morning on an overnight flight from Atlanta."
I must say they seem pretty heavy handed - according to the Times:
Within minutes of the plane landing, an air hostess said over the speaker system: “Could Mrs Darwin please come forward.” She was arrested by armed officers from Greater Manchester Police.
According to News 24 several uniformed officers armed with SMGs boarded the plane and escorted her off before any other passengers were allowed to alight. What did they think she was going to do, exactly?
 
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#52
Well she's very wealthy and was about to purchase a jungle hideout so she could have many other hidden Bond-villain extras, such as sharks in her pockets (with frickin lasers) or may even have been converted to part cyborg. This is pure speculation though, my sources are notoriously unreliable.
 
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#53
This might have been pointed out before but it struck me when the story started to unravel that the inevitable future headline, DARWIN ON TRIAL FOR FRAUD (or something similar), is going to have swivel-eyed creationists spotting their boxers with glee worldwide!!
 

maximus otter

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#54
stuneville said:
I must say they seem pretty heavy handed. According to News 24 several uniformed officers armed with SMGs boarded the plane and escorted her off before any other passengers were allowed to alight. What did they think she was going to do, exactly?
Reporter-speak. They are paid to make popping out of the office for a latte and a biscotti sound like the Ardennes Offensive.

I have little doubt that what happened was as follows:

1. A vehicle crewed by three officers went to the plane. One driver, two patrol officers.

2. Two of the officers - who are obliged to be armed with carbines, not SMGs, because it's an international airport - boarded the plane.

3. The arrest was made before any passengers were allowed to leave in order to prevent the suspect - who is obviously a flight risk - from "blending with the crowd" of hundreds of passengers milling around and elbowing their way off the plane and across the tarmac.

That's the way I'd write it, which was why I was a policeman, not a hack. ;)

maximus otter
 

Fizz32

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#55
What puzzled me was that it was Manchester Airport, where every 'plane except the small domestic flights disembark down the 'tubes' into Arrivals and baggage collection, without actually touching the tarmac, so it would have been easy to apprehend her as she came off the 'plane.

Why didn't they just let all the other passengers off first and then send the police onto the plane?

I didn't see any female police officers - there again, I've seen very few pics of her arriving - but I thought it was procedure to make sure a female was there? Maximus, perhaps you can give me an informed answer to that?

I don't think she was that much of a 'flight risk' - if she'd wanted to avoid arrest, she wouldn't have come back to the UK, would she?
 

Kondoru

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#56
Thanks for clarifying that, maximus, I have friends on other boards sctratching their heads over the `caaution und cosideratun` (to quote a certain West coast skipper) of the english law.

But I would have stayed away, myself.
 

maximus otter

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#57
Fizz32 said:
...I thought it was procedure to make sure a female was there?
Under ideal circumstances, yes.

However, manpower being so stretched, and female firearms officers so (relatively) rare, I imagine they had to use whoever was available.

maximus otter
 

rynner2

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#58
The story rumbles on..

Canoeist's sons face police questioning
By Jasper Copping and Patrick Sawer
Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 16/12/2007

The sons of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin and his wife Anne are to be interviewed by police "within days".

Anthony and Mark Darwin face questioning by officers trying to establish what they knew about the alleged plot to fake Mr Darwin's death in order to claim on his life insurance.

Det Insp Andy Greenwood, from Cleveland Police, said: "We will be sitting down and talking to them properly within days."

Anthony, 29, and Mark, 32, have maintained they had no idea their father was still alive until he walked into a London police station earlier this month.

DI Greenwood said: "If we are to believe what Mr and Mrs Darwin have told us, the sons knew nothing, but until we speak to them we don't know what they will say.

"We will be talking to them separately, as information could be contaminated. The sons are speaking to us again. They went and sought some advice from a lawyer, to make sure they weren't saying anything they shouldn't."

He said officers had spoken to Kelly Steele, a mother of three from Kansas, whom Mr Darwin is reported to have asked to buy him land in the American state.

Mr Darwin, 57, struck up a friendship with Mrs Steele over the internet and persuaded her to purchase a remote 20-acre farm in Kansas with £10,000 he gave her during a visit in 2004.

Mrs Steele has denied she and Mr Darwin were lovers.
:?

The Darwins were remanded in custody last Friday and will now spend Christmas apart.

Mr Darwin, who reappeared five years after going missing off the north-east coast at Hartlepool in March 2002, is accused of falsely claiming £25,000 life insurance and obtaining a false passport.

Mrs Darwin is charged with obtaining £25,000 from her husband's life insurance.

http://tinyurl.com/2fa6nl
 
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#59
If it's true that they both left their jobs within a few days of one another just before their dad handed himself in, I find it difficult to see how they can justify that if they didn't know. Particularly with their dad living next door to their mum for 5 years!
 

Stormkhan

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#60
However, as any Fortean can witness, real life is full of coincidences.

They'd been offered a job (independently of each other) and handed in their notice at just the time their father had given himself up ... er ... arrived at a police station, just three weeks after his wife had sold up everything and moved to Panama.

Oh, let's face it - the truth is utterly unbelievable compared to fiction!

The Man in a Canoe From Seaton Carew - even the title is too damn good for reality!
 
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