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BACK from the dead canoeist John Darwin was last night charged with conning his life insurance company.

He was charged with making an untrue statement to procure a passport and obtaining a money transfer by deception in relation to a life insurance policy.

Detective Sergeant Iain Henderson of Cleveland Police said Darwin will remain in police custody until tomorrow when an application will be made at Hartlepool Magistrates' Court to remand him in custody.

He urged Darwin's wife, Anne Darwin, to make contact with police at the earliest opportunity but said police do not know when she intends to return to the UK Mrs Darwin has admitted her husband was, in fact, living in their family home for three years after being declared dead.

She revealed he hid in another part of their house when their two sons visited, as he was adamant they should not know the truth.

"For three years, while virtually everyone close to us believed John was missing presumed dead, he was actually at home with me," she confessed.

Mr Darwin disappeared from the couple's home in Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in March 2002 and was presumed drowned after his wrecked canoe was found.

But he walked into a London police station last Saturday.

Mrs Darwin, 55, had moved out to Panama to be with her husband but is expected to be arrested when she returns to Britain.

"We had a lot of debt, in the tens of thousands. He said there was only one way out of the situation and that was to fake his death," she said.

"I said it was the wrong thing to do and could not go along with it but he badgered away."

On the day of his inquest, Mrs Darwin said her husband stayed in the bedsit next to their home because their sons Mark and Anthony were staying with her.

The couple later bought an apartment in Panama and Mrs Darwin moved there seven weeks ago.

She insisted her sons had no knowledge of the scam and added: "I am really, really sorry."


ARREST: the beach where Darwin went missing and, inset, the house where he was hiding; CUSTODY: John Darwin
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 9, 2007
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