The Canoe Man

The news story about the canoe guy, who faked his own death to try and fix heavy debts and loans, is both strange and sad in equal measures.

John Darwin went off in his canoe but never came back. Everyone presumed that he was dead, but – almost a year later – he knocked on the front door of his family home to tell his wife why he’d done it. He convinced her not to say anything – not even to their sons who, until a week ago, believed that their father was dead. The wife, Anne Darwin, even maintained the deception when their sons came to stay in the house – their father and mother had been living there together for nearly three years… even though he was officially pronounced dead.

The couple kept this charade going as the insurance payout was, apparently, the only way to get them out of debt. Yet, they eventually sold their family home (which they rented rooms from too) for a whacking 295,000. How come they didn’t do this earlier and move into a smaller property? He obtained a passport quite easily – merely by applying for one through the normal channels – using a different name.

The sad end to the story came in November, when John Darwin – with his new-found wealth and a new life in Panama – decided that he wanted contact with his sons again. He left his wife in Panama and flew back to the UK to tell police that he’d suffered amnesia. For some reason he thought he could get away with it. Why not? He’d got away with being “dead” for all these years..

It’s a sad, sad, story but well worth reading. It just shows that money isn’t everything and, at the end of the day, your family should be the most important part of your life. Have a look at the Mirror Exclusive to hear from Anne Darwin herself.

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