Canoe wife must repay £600,000 – while husband faces bill for £1
Fraudster has assets frozen and faces 30 months in jail if money is not repaid
Thursday 12 November 2009
Anne Darwin, the insurance fraudster, faces 30 months in jail if she does not repay the sum of nearly £600,000 she made from the faked death scam she carried out with her husband.
A judge yesterday told Mrs Darwin, 57, to give back £591,838.25, while her husband John, 59, has to repay a nominal £1 because he is penniless. The couple, who conned insurance companies after they staged Mr Darwin's "death" in a bogus canoeing accident, have now had their assets confiscated.
The Darwins had benefited to the sum of £679,194.62 from the fraud, Leeds Crown Court heard. However, the realisable assets totalled £591,838.25, said Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said. The Darwins own land in Panama worth £232,000 and a £58,000 apartment in Panama City. The remaining near-£300,000 was held in bank accounts in the Central American country.
"I have provided the court this morning a schedule which sets out the total benefit and the realisation of the monies that the Crown would ask your Lordship to make a confiscation order today," Mr Perks said. "This matter is agreed by the representatives of both John and Anne Darwin."
Mr Perks said the prosecution were not making the application "to enrich the coffers of the Crown". He said: "It is an application to take away from the defendants their ill-gotten gains." Mrs Darwin, looking pale and drawn, was in court today for the hearing, but her husband, a former prison officer and teacher, was excused attendance.
The Darwins defrauded Aviva, formerly Norwich Union, of £247,478.46 when they made a claim on a mortgage insurance policy, Mr Perks said.
Fellow insurance giant AIG was conned out of £58,833.69 when the couple cashed in a life insurance policy.
They also made claims on Mr Darwin's prison service pension of £84,147.64, his teaching pension of £34,277.70 and a Department of Work and Pensions payout of £4,273.60.
Mr Perks said the couple's assets were in Mrs Darwin's name and her husband was, in effect, penniless.
"John Darwin being a person of no assets, it is not possible to make any order against him apart from a nominal amount," he said.
Mr Perks asked that the couple have 12 months to repay the money and if they fail to do so they could face an extra two-and-half-years' imprisonment.
Mrs Darwin was jailed for six-and-a-half years last year after a jury found her guilty of six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering. Mr Darwin admitting seven charges of deception and was jailed for six years and three months.
The couple, of Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, began a new life in Panama after Mr Darwin faked his death in March 2002 by vanishing off the coast. He turned up at a UK police station in November 2007, claiming he was a missing person with amnesia. The ruse fell apart when a photo of the couple in Panama turned up on the internet.
Mr Darwin had obtained a passport in the name of a dead baby, John Jones, and lived secretly with his wife while they hatched a plot to emigrate to Panama and start a new life. Mr Darwin travelled to Panama where they bought a flat and planned to set up an ecological tourism business together.
Mrs Darwin claimed during her trial that she was forced into the scam by her husband. But a jury found her guilty on all counts. This year the couple both lost appeals against their sentences.
Detective Inspector Andy Greenwood, who led the original investigation, said he did not know whether this would be the end of the Darwin saga.
"I hope this is the end," he said, "but you can never say never with the Darwins... Anne and John Darwin have deceived their friends and family. This was a vindictive and nasty crime."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...