Jailed canoeist's wife lodges appeal

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The Independent Online

The wife of back-from-the dead canoeist John Darwin has lodged an appeal against conviction and sentence, it emerged today.

Anne Darwin and her husband were each jailed for more than six years last month for carrying out a "determined, sustained and sophisticated" £250,000 fraud by faking his death in a canoeing accident.

They were sentenced at Teesside Crown Court over a swindle which deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their sons, Mark, 32, and Anthony, 29.

Mrs Darwin, 56, was convicted of six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering after a seven-day trial.

The Court of Appeal confirmed today that she had lodged an appeal against both conviction and her six-and-a-half year jail sentence.

Mr Darwin, 57, was jailed for six years and three months.

His wife claimed that her "domineering" husband forced her to go through with the plan to con insurance and pension companies by faking his death at sea.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Wilkie, told the Darwins their sons' lives were "crushed" by the deception, and that meant a severe sentence was needed.

The court heard the plan to hoax insurers and pension schemes into believing Mr Darwin was dead was hatched as the couple faced losing their imposing seafront home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in 2002.

They had a 12-home property portfolio and were struggling to make mortgage repayments, when he paddled into the sea in his home-made canoe and then disappeared.

If given the go-ahead to challenge her conviction and sentence, Mrs Darwin's case would be heard by judges in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal in London.