Anne Darwin's week in court: 'A woman able to lie and deceive at length'

In 2002, John Darwin, who, with his wife Anne, owned a portfolio of properties in the North-east, went canoeing off the coast and disappeared. No body was found; he was presumed drowned, and his wife collected insurance and pension payouts worth about £250,000. Then, last December, Mr Darwin turned up at a London police station. It emerged that Mrs Darwin had known of his faked death all along.

Monday

Anne Darwin goes on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with 15 counts of money-laundering and deception. Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, said that after her husband's "death", Mrs Darwin put on a "great act", completely fooling a police liaison officer. Mrs Darwin's defence is "marital coercion". Mr Robertson said this defence requires that she prove her husband was present each time an offence was committed. He also said the deceptions were motivated by the couple's debts, totalling £309,000.

Tuesday

The Darwins' sons told the court they felt "betrayed" by a mother who kept up the pretence of her husband's death. Mark, 32, said: "She flung her arms around me. She said, 'He's gone, I think. I have lost him.' She wouldn't stop crying for ages." Anthony, 29, said he felt "disbelief and anger" when his father reappeared. Mr Robertson said: "The brothers contacted their mother and on receipt of this news that her husband was still alive, she pretended to be overcome with emotion... It is the Crown's submission that far from dealing with a shrinking violet, we have here a determined, resolute woman who was able to lie and deceive at length."

Wednesday

Within weeks of Mr Darwin's disappearance, the court heard, he rang his wife, crying and pleading to come home. Finally, she relented, and he returned to live in a house they owned next to their home. Mrs Darwin said she suggested they solve their problems by bankruptcy, but her husband, whom she described as "very manipulative", refused. Later, with the money obtained by insurance claims, he set up home in Panama, sending her emails urging her to join him, which she did.

Thursday

Mrs Darwin said her husband was domineering, had had an affair, and often joked that "the only time I take her out is to vote". He was engrossed in an online role-playing game and later flew out to the US to see a woman he'd met via this game. She said she could not stop him "because what John wanted, John got". Mr Darwin returned, having lost £30,000. Mrs Darwin said he alone handled their money and kept her ignorant of their debts. As these mounted, she suggested selling some of their rental properties, but he said this was not possible because their mortgage meant they "would have to sell all or nothing". It was around then that her husband said he was probably worth more dead than alive.

Friday

Still on the witness stand, Mrs Darwin said that she thought the pretence of her husband's "death" would last only a few months. Asked if faking a death to claim insurance money was fraud, she replied: "I didn't understand it to be fraud at the time." The trial continues tomorrow.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
South African writer Nadine Gordimer's 'The Conservationist' won the Booker Prize in 1974 jointly with Stanley Middleton's 'Holiday'
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Infrastructure Engineer

£28000 - £34000 per annum + excellent bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: In...

Web / Digital Analyst - SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Campaign Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency is currently ...

Software Engineer - C++

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Software En...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor