John and Anne Darwin Sentenced
Posted by shadmia on July 26, 2008
John Darwin, 57, and his wife Anne Darwin, 55, will be spending the next 6 years of their lives in the same place, but they won’t be together. Judge Alan Wilkie imposed a sentence of six years and three months on John Darwin after he plead guilty to seven charges of obtaining money by deception and a passport offense. His wife Anne took her case to trial…..and lost. She was sentenced to six-and-a-half years after being convicted of all 15 counts of fraud against her.
They were both sentenced for their separate roles in faking the death of John Darwin in a canoeing accident in March 2002. The couple swindled £250,000 from pensions and insurance companies after Mr Darwin went missing. They succeeded in fooling everyone: The police, their friends and neighbors, the pension and insurance companies and even their own two sons Anthony, 29, and Mark, 32. In fact the two sons gave testimony at the trial against their own mother.
John Darwin apparently hatched the scheme to fake his own death because of his financial problems. He got his wife to play along. After his “death” John lived for sometime at the couple’s home hiding from everyone. He eventually obtained a passport under a false name and went to live in Panama, where his wife joined him. For unknown reasons the couple decided to return to Britain where John reported to his local police station, claiming that he had amnesia and did not know where he had been for the past 5 years. Under police questioning the truth came out and they were both arrested. Here is John Darwin’s statement to the police and here is what his wife told the police.
Judge Alan Wilkie ruled that even though Mr Darwin had admitted his guilt he should serve a similar sentence to his wife because he had been the orchestrator of the plot. He said the severe sentences were handed down because of the “cruelty and grief” inflicted on the Darwin children in a “virtually unique” fraud.
“I accept you, John, were the driving force behind this deceit,” he said. “You, Anne Darwin, perhaps initially unconvinced, played an instrumental rather than organising role. Nevertheless, you contributed to its success and played your part efficiently. In my judgment, you operated as a team, each contributing to the joint venture.
“You would in all likelihood have got away with it if you, John Darwin, had not decided to return to the UK and try to brazen it out with a further false story of amnesia.”
The “betrayed” sons of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin described how their shock turned to rage when they learned their parents faked the entire ordeal. Mark and Anthony Darwin told a British court they could not believe they had been deceived for five years and only realized they had been fooled when they saw an internet photo of their smiling father posing next to their mother Anne in Panama.
Mark, 32, told the Teeside Local Court jury he was stunned by his mother’s lies. “I couldn’t believe the fact she knew he was alive all this time and I had been lied to for god knows how long,” he said.
Anthony, 29, said he thought the image was faked and had been doctored by an internet prankster. It was only when he read a newspaper confession by his mother in which she apparently confirmed it was genuine that he realized he had been so badly duped. The court heard how he cut short a trip to Canada in March 2002 during which he intended to propose to his girlfriend when he was told that his father was missing.
“She flung her arms around me, she said ‘He’s gone I think. I have lost him’,” he said at hearing the news from his mother five years ago. “She wouldn’t stop crying for ages. We just stood in the drawing room doorway.”
The following document shows the significant events this case from the time the Darwins hatched their scheme to their final sentencing of six years in jail.