'Missing' canoeist admits deception

Back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin today admitted deception.







But his wife Anne denied all charges linked to the case and will stand trial later this year.



Darwin, 57, and his 55-year-old wife were accused of a string of fraud charges totalling nearly £250,000.



The couple made their first crown court appearance in Leeds today for a plea and directions hearing at which Mr Darwin pleaded guilty to seven charges of obtaining cash by deception and a passport offence.



He denied nine other charges of using criminal property and the court was told he will not face trial for these charges, which will be left to lie on file.



But Mrs Darwin denied six deception charges and nine of using criminal property.



She will now face trial at Teesside Crown Court on July 14, the court heard.



Darwin disappeared after taking his canoe into the sea opposite his home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in March 2002.



A huge air-sea search failed to find any trace of his body and he was pronounced dead by police and a coroner the following year.



It has since been alleged that the former teacher and prison officer was living next door to his wife at her seaside home in Seaton Carew for much of the time he was thought to have been dead.



The mystery of his disappearance started to unravel when Darwin walked into a London police station on 1 December last year and announced: "I think I'm a missing person."



Days later, a photograph of Darwin and his wife, a former doctor's receptionist, emerged, which appeared to show them in Panama, Central America, with a property agent.



The picture is said to have been taken in July 2006 - more than three years after Hartlepool Coroner Malcolm Donnelly recorded an open verdict on Darwin's apparent death.



Detectives said the couple's two sons, Mark and Anthony Darwin, were never made aware that their father was still alive and were innocent "victims" of the charade.





















As the couple were brought into the dock and stood facing the judge, Darwin turned to his wife and squeezed her hand.

Mrs Darwin stared straight forward and did not appear to respond.



The couple stood next to each other for the 30-minute hearing flanked by three security guards.



Darwin, who was wearing a black leather jacket over a blue open-neck shirt and jeans, entered his pleas, occasionally pausing to consult a piece of paper.



His wife, who was wearing a white cream cardigan over a white shirt with dark trousers, confidently said "not guilty" to each of the charges.



She showed no emotion and started straight ahead throughout the hearing.



The courtroom was packed with reporters spilling over into the area normally reserved for the jury.



Peter Makepeace, representing Darwin, asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and said his client had been seen by a psychiatrist but there were no mental health issues relevant to the case.



But Mr Makepeace said: "Mr Darwin has been in custody.



"It has been an extremely difficult time for him. There have been self-harming issues."



Mr Makepeace added: "He accepts entirely that a lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable."



The judge agreed for the report to be prepared but he told Darwin he will have to be held in custody until the conclusion of his wife's trial.



The court heard the trial will take place at Teesside Crown Court from 14 July and will probably last about five days.















Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup