'If we couldn't die, then my crazed brain reasoned, I could pretend to die... I no longer had a choice, I'd made up my mind to do it - 'Canoe Man' John Darwin for real' The 'eureka' moment of a desperate man in debt.Byline: Paul Loraine
B ACK-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin John Haddrick Darwin (born 17 December 1923) was Government Statistician of New Zealand from 1980-1984 and a member of the 1985-86 Royal Commission on the Electoral System. has written of how he faked his own death in a memoir smuggled out of his jail cell.
Darwin, who formerly taught science in at a school in Derwentside, conned financial institutions out of around pounds 250,000 after vanishing in March 2002 while paddling his canoe in the North Sea near his home in Seaton Carew Seaton Carew is a small seaside resort within the borough of Hartlepool, England. It is situated on the North Sea coast between the town of Hartlepool and the mouth of the River Tees. , near Hartlepool.
He had actually begun a new life in Panama with his wife Anne, but returned to the UK in November 2007, telling police he was a missing person with amnesia.
Extracts from a book about how he executed the scam were published yesterday, sparking anger over how he managed to sneak the manuscript out of jail.
In his memoir, titled The Canoe Man, Panama & Back, Darwin, 59, revealed how, overwhelmed by mounting debts, he initially contemplated suicide but realised it would not solve his financial woes and feared the effect it would have on his wife.
"The thought of losing everything was more than I could bear," he wrote.
"Not only would I think I was a failure in the eyes of Anne - but also in the eyes of my two sons, as I would have lost the family home, lost absolutely everything that Anne and I had worked for."
He went on to describe the "Eureka moment" when he hit upon the idea of staging his own death. "If we couldn't die, then my crazed brain reasoned, I could pretend to die. Not a job for Anne, she may fluff it completely and end up really dead! For my part, I no longer had a choice - I'd made up my mind to do it for real."
Darwin's book also included a dedication to Anne which read: "This book is dedicated to Anne; my wife, soulmate soulmate n → compañero/a del alma , friend and one true love. I love you." The couple convinced the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their two sons Mark and Anthony that Darwin had drowned in a canoeing accident.
In the "missing" five years, he hid in the next door bedsit bedsit or bedsitter
a furnished sitting room with a bed
Noun 1. bedsit - a furnished sitting room with sleeping accommodations (and some plumbing)
bedsitter, bedsitting room that they owned, took on a false identity, then tried to start a new life in Panama after his wife cashed in a life assurance policy. According to reports, Darwin teamed up with a fraudster fraudster
a person who commits a fraud; swindler he met in prison who posed as his lawyer after being freed.
The pair were apparently able to exchange uncensored material under "rule 39" which allows for correspondence between prisoners and their legal advisers to be treated as confidential.
This meant staff at Everthorpe jail in East Yorkshire, where Darwin is serving a six-year sentence, were unable to monitor mail and phone calls between the two.
However, the Prison Service failed to carry out basic checks which would have revealed that Darwin's new "lawyer" was really a conman who was freed on licence earlier this year, the paper reported.
A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "Prisons have established processes in place for dealing with rule 39, which ensures that the confidential legal relationships between solicitors and their clients are maintained, while also ensuring security is not compromised. We take any allegations that this rule is being breached very seriously and will investigate them."
Darwin was sentenced to six years and three months in July 2008 after admitting fraud while his wife was jailed for six-and-a-half years for fraud and money laundering The process of taking the proceeds of criminal activity and making them appear legal.
Laundering allows criminals to transform illegally obtained gain into seemingly legitimate funds. .
DEDICATION John Darwin, above, has dedicated his book to wife Anne.