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Canoeist missing for five years turns up alive
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rynner
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PostPosted: 04-12-2007 21:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much new here

Missing man 'remembers nothing'
........................
He has now been reunited with his sons, Anthony and Mark, who say he cannot remember anything since June 2000.

His wife, Anne, is believed to be living abroad after recently selling the couple's home.

Traumatic and emotional

In the statement issued through Cleveland Police, Anthony, 29, and Mark, 31, said that the news of his appearance had come as a huge shock to the whole family, but they were extremely happy.

His wife had been informed and was delighted at the news.

They added: "We have spoken with John and he appears to be in good health, however he currently has no memory of events since June 2000.

"We appreciate that there is huge media interest in this story however due to John's memory loss there is little more we can add.

"Since Saturday evening we have been through a traumatic and emotional time and this continues to be a stressful time for John and the family."

Officers will be speaking to Mr Darwin at some point, but it has not been determined when.

Anyone who has seen or had dealings with him over the past five years is asked to contact Cleveland Police.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7127236.stm

Question: How long does somebody have to be missing before they are legally presumed dead?
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escargot1Offline
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PostPosted: 04-12-2007 22:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

Traditionally under English common law it was seven years. However, these days a few months'll do, as long as the missing person does seem dead - if they've been thoroughly searched for with no trace found, say, or if they've been in a fatal accident from which no remains can be recovered like an oil rig fire or a shipwreck.

The timing depends on the next of kin's need to have them declared dead. Many relatives refuse to admit the probable death of a missing loved one, as with Madeleine McCann's parents.

Often though there are legal loose ends such as inheritance or insurance which can only be dealt with by the issuing of a death certificate. This is why a person may have their relative declared dead, whether or not they emotionally accept their loss.
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MythopoeikaOffline
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PostPosted: 04-12-2007 22:31    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the wife - all the reports I've seen mention that a few weeks ago, she sold up everything and moved abroad. Nobody knew where she had gone, but now it has been established that she has moved to Panama (not the typical location most Brits would choose to move to, so it's odd).

The timing of all the events is very strange and suspicious. I'm sure there's more to this than meets the eye...
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liveinabin1Offline
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PostPosted: 04-12-2007 23:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

All odd indeed.

sorry for starting a new thread without checking for an existing one.
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XanaticoOffline
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PostPosted: 04-12-2007 23:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can´t help but wonder if the wife recently got a phone call saying "He has escaped. Get out of the country quick!"
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rynner
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 06:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

Police arrest 'missing canoeist'

A man who reappeared five years after it was thought he had drowned at sea while canoeing has been arrested.
John Darwin was presumed dead after the remains of his canoe were found washed up on a beach in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, Teesside, in March 2002.

The 57-year-old walked into a London police station at the weekend, saying he did not remember where he had been.

Cleveland Police said a man had been arrested by Hampshire officers at their request but made no further comment.

Mr Darwin had been reunited with his sons, Anthony and Mark, who said he could not remember anything since June 2000.

.....................

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7128196.stm

The radio says that his wife did cash in his insurance, but has now offered to repay it....

The tabloids have interviews with her, apparently.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 06:57    Post subject: Reply with quote

Police arrest canoeist, as wife admits: 'Yes, I DID pocket the life insurance.'
By DAVID LEIGH and MICHAEL SEAMARK Last updated at 01:56am on 5th December 2007

The wife of the canoeist who came back from the dead admitted yesterday that she had banked insurance payouts on her husband's life.

The Mail tracked John Darwin's wife Anne to Panama City, where she emigrated six weeks ago after realising almost £500,000 from the sale of family property. She said she had claimed the insurance 'in good faith when I believed I had lost my husband'.

Mr Darwin, 57, walked into a police station at the weekend five years after disappearing in an apparent accident at sea.

And early today he was arrested and led away by police from his son's house in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

It normally takes seven years for a missing person to be declared dead unless there are 'compelling circumstances'. But in an unusual move, an inquest was held on Mr Darwin in April 2003, just over a year after his disappearance.

As there was no body, permission had to be secured from the Secretary of State, and an open verdict was returned.

Yesterday Hartlepool coroner Malcolm Donnelly said: 'The police presented a file which said there were no suspicious circumstances and he was probably dead. The family were anxious for it to be held because until then they were in a state of limbo and could not move on with their lives financially.'

Mrs Darwin, a 55-year-old mother of two, said she had spoken three times on the phone to her husband.

But she added that she had no immediate plans to return to Britain, adding: 'People can think what they want. I know the truth.'

She would not discuss claims by neighbours that she is sharing her two-bedroom apartment with another man.

Early today, Mr Darwin was escorted from his son's home by police officers who banged on the front door and shouted through the letter box: 'Mr Darwin, we need to speak to you.'

Wearing beige trousers, a dark brown tracksuit top and black jacket, he looked bewildered as he was taken into a waiting police car.

Three uniformed officers and a plain-clothed detective in two police cars had arrived at his house at 11.30pm and repeatedly knocked on the front door of the three-bedroom semi before receiving an answer.

They went inside and later emerged with Mr Darwin – who went missing, presumed dead, after paddling out into the North Sea in his canoe in March 2002.

He was not handcuffed and hid his head under his jacket as he was driven away from the home of his 29-year-old son Anthony.

Inspector Andy Vickers, from Cleveland Police, said: 'A 57-year-old man was arrested this evening by Hampshire Police at the request of Cleveland Police in relation to their ongoing investigation surrounding the disappearance of John Darwin from Hartlepool in March 2002.'

The prison officer and former teacher, who lived with his wife in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, had been described as looking 'very fit and suntanned' when he arrived at a West London police station on Sunday night, claiming to be suffering from amnesia.

After the wreckage of his red canoe was found, nothing had been heard from him. Even members of his family are questioning his claim to have lost his memory, with his 80-year-old aunt, Margaret Burns, saying: 'To be honest, I don't believe he ever got wet.' Shocked But Mrs Darwin was adamant that her husband would never fake his own death.

'John just wouldn't have done that,' she said. Asked if she knew he was alive, she replied: 'No, I did not. I'm as amazed as anyone.'

She said she accepted that the life insurance payouts might have to be given back, saying: 'If that happens, of course it won't be easy, but I'll deal with it. It is not the money I ever wanted – it was having my husband back.'

Detectives from Cleveland are now expected to interview Mr Darwin. They are appealing for any sightings of him since 2002.

Earlier yesterday, a man answering Mr Darwin's description arrived at the home of his elderly father Ronald in Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, but drove off when he spotted photographers outside.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=499723&in_page_id=1770&ct=5
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 07:13    Post subject: Reply with quote

liveinabin1 wrote:
sorry for starting a new thread without checking for an existing one.

Not a problem - happens all the time Smile.
rynner wrote:
Quote:
...(Mrs Darwin) said she accepted that the life insurance payouts might have to be given back, saying: 'If that happens, of course it won't be easy, but I'll deal with it. It is not the money I ever wanted – it was having my husband back.'
So, given her joy beyond mere riches that he is actually alive, did she leap on the first 'plane home as soon as he reappeared?

Erm....

It also appears that the front page one of the tabloids has gleaned a pic of Mrs Darwin taken last year in Panama, with someone who looks suspiciously like.. Mr Darwin.

Curiouser and curiouser.
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rynner
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 07:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The prison officer and former teacher ..... had been described as looking 'very fit and suntanned' when he arrived at a West London police station on Sunday night, claiming to be suffering from amnesia."

What's the weather like in Panama, then? Very Happy
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rynner
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 07:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

More background from The Times:

The 'dead' canoeist John Darwin, his wife and the Panama connection
Andrew Norfolk, Rajeev Syal and Murad Ahmed

The wife of a man who disappeared in an apparent canoeing tragedy five years ago had moved to Panama and opened a new bank account only weeks before he walked into a police station to declare that he was still alive, it emerged last night.

Anne Darwin, 55, is understood to have emigrated to Panama City soon after the sale of two properties that she once jointly owned with her husband, John Darwin, who had formally been declared dead by a coroner.

Yesterday Mr Darwin, 57, a former teacher and prison officer, was preparing to be interviewed by detectives who want to know how he has survived in anonymity before he strolled into West End Central police station in Savile Row, Central London, last weekend. Police officers said he had no memory of what had happened.
.......
But it is his wife’s sudden departure from their seven-bedroom home that has puzzled neighbours in the coastal community of Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool.

Bill Rodriguez, a former neighbour, said that when he last saw Mrs Darwin in August, she told him that she had just returned from a six-week holiday in Panama. “She said she loved it out there and was going to move out full-time,” he said.

A former neighbour said that Mrs Darwin’s departure six to eight weeks ago, had been extremely sudden.

“She left the house full of furniture. She left everything. It took them 15 skips to get the rubbish out,” she said.

The Times understands that Mrs Darwin has “hundreds of thousands of pounds” in a Panamanian bank account, and had sent some of her furniture to the Central American state.

The bizarre story began on March 21 five years ago when Mr Darwin took his red canoe out to sea.

The couple had moved to a seafront house two years earlier with their dogs. Their sons, Mark and Anthony, had moved away and the couple told neighbours that they hoped to retire there.

The North Sea was said to be unusually calm that spring day. Mr Darwin was reported missing when he did not return home. Hours later his damaged boat was washed up on the sandy beach. A member of the emergency services who launched a fruitless 14-hour seach for Mr Darwin after his disappearance said last night that sea conditions had been as “smooth as a millpond”. Tom Waller, 60, a member of Hartlepool Coastwatch, said that rescuers had been puzzled that the prison officer could have got into trouble in such conditions.

An extensive search operation was mounted along the coastline from Hartlepool to Staithes, North Yorkshire. No sign of Mr Darwin was ever found.

Six months after his disappearance, Mrs Darwin, a doctor’s receptionist, told a local newspaper that she could not move on without seeing her husband’s body. She said: “People die, have a funeral, they have a headstone, there is something to mark the fact they existed on this Earth. But without a body, I don’t know how we can mark John’s life.

“All I want is to bury his body. It would enable me to move on. It’s difficult to grieve without bringing things to a close, but as it is I’m in limbo and there’s nothing I can do.”

An inquest was eventually held in April 2003, 13 months after his disappearance, and the Hartlepool Coroner recorded an open verdict.

The couple paid £170,000 in December 2000 for two adjoining properties on Seaton Carew seafront. Robert Meggs, the former owner, said the Darwins planned to live in one house while earning a £2,000 monthly rental income from the second, which was divided into 15 bedsits.

“They had been living near Durham but they used to come to Seaton regularly to walk their two rottweilers on the beach,” he said. “Mr Darwin also told me that he was a keen canoeist. When they saw these adjoining homes for sale they thought it was their dream house.”

Mr Meggs said that the couple owned a black Range Rover with a personalised number plate. Mrs Darwin had been “very striking” and appeared to be the dominant partner in the relationship, he said. Her husband had told him that he had a heart condition.

On the day that they moved in, Mr Meggs said he had been puzzled when Mrs Darwin confided in him: “If this doesn’t work out, we’ll lose everything.”

Documents from the Land Registry show that Mrs Darwin transferred both of their properties to her son, Mark, in June 2006.

She continued to live in one of the houses, but one was sold in October 2007 for £295,000 while the other fetched £160,000 in March.

Yesterday afternoon two police officers called at one of the couple’s properties to take away mail. The male and female uniformed officers spoke to John Duffield, 36, for about ten minutes. When he and his partner moved in, furniture had been left including wardrobes and settees. There were few personal items, he said, though “we did find Teach Yourself Spanish books in her study”, he said.

Mr Darwin studied at the St Francis Xavier College in Liverpool. He wrote on the Friends Reunited website in January 2002, just weeks before his disappearance: “After leaving St Francis went to De La Salle College, Manchester, where I did biology and chemistry. Taught in Derwentside for 18 years before leaving teaching to join Barclays Bank. At present work for Prison Service and have portfolio of properties.

“Married to a convent girl Anne Stephenson, we have two grown-up sons and two dogs. Recently moved to Seaton Carew where I hope to retire soon.”

This weekend, Mr Darwin reappeared at the Central London police station, looking tanned, refreshed and healthy. Inspector Helen Eustace, of Cleveland Police, said yesterday: “The guy can’t remember anything about what’s happened or why he’s come forward. He has no memory at all. He has obviously been somewhere for the last five years and a lot of questions need answering.”

He is believed to be staying with relatives in the South of England.

This weekend some of his relatives expressed relief that he had reappeared. His brother, David, speaking from his home in Barnet, North London, said: “All the family is so relieved that John is alive.”

Mr Darwin’s 90-year-old father, Ronald, of Blackhall Colliery, Co Durham, told a newspaper: “I always said to the police that there might be more to this than it appeared at first. When his canoe was found but he wasn’t, it didn’t seem right.”

Mr Darwin said that when his son was 4 or 5 he was knocked down by a car and suffered a head injury, which could have caused amnesia later in his life.

“Now he’s got his memory back,” Mr Darwin said. “When I speak to him, I will ask him where he has been these last few years and I’ll ask, ‘Why didn’t you make arrangements to see me before now?’.”

One relative was less supportive. Mr Darwin’s aunt, Margaret Burns, said that her nephew had only once made contact with his father in the past 36 years, and that was on the day of his mother’s funeral 16 years ago. She said that at the funeral he had boasted of owning 17 properties and predicted that he would be a millionaire by the age of 50.

Officers from Cleveland Police will meet Mr Darwin before Friday.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Beddow said: “This has been a long-running inquiry by Cleveland Police and officers from the inquiry team hope to speak to Mr Darwin to establish his whereabouts.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article2994946.ece
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YithianOffline
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 09:34    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can understand that it might all be an insurance scam with them both involved, but why the hell would he hand himself in at a police station? If he really lost his memory post-scam he's damned unlucky!
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CarlosTheDJOffline
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 14:52    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes!
I started an interesting thread!
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PeripartOffline
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 15:14    Post subject: Reply with quote

theyithian wrote:
I can understand that it might all be an insurance scam with them both involved, but why the hell would he hand himself in at a police station?

Maybe, if you were in his alleged position, and you thought you'd been rumbled, you might try a last, desperate tactic? Surely there are more foolproff ways to go about things, though, like moving to Belize or growing a beard?

It seems the police have been looking into this case for a few months now, so maybe he panicked.
Carlos wrote:
Yes!
I started an interesting thread!
You surely did!
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YithianOffline
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PostPosted: 05-12-2007 16:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peripart wrote:
theyithian wrote:
I can understand that it might all be an insurance scam with them both involved, but why the hell would he hand himself in at a police station?

Maybe, if you were in his alleged position, and you thought you'd been rumbled, you might try a last, desperate tactic? Surely there are more foolproff ways to go about things, though, like moving to Belize or growing a beard?

It seems the police have been looking into this case for a few months now, so maybe he panicked.
Carlos wrote:
Yes!
I started an interesting thread!
You surely did!


It's possible, but as you say, a pretty desperate move.
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stunevilleOffline
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PostPosted: 06-12-2007 07:06    Post subject: Reply with quote

Further up the page, I wrote:
....It also appears that the front page one of the tabloids has gleaned a pic of Mrs Darwin taken last year in Panama, with someone who looks suspiciously like.. Mr Darwin.
..twas the Mirror, which today has the headline:
Quote:
Moment the Mirror tells canoe wife.. THE GAME IS UP
WORLD EXCLUSIVE

Mum's shock at pic 'Kids will kill me'
David Leigh In Panama 06/12/2007

This is the dramatic moment stunned canoe wife Anne Darwin realised the Mirror had rumbled her.

Seeing our exclusive picture of her and "dead" husband John in Panama last July, Anne, 55, said: "Yes, that's him. My sons will never forgive me." John, 57, was being quizzed by police last night over a £1million fraud.
This all unravelling quite spectacularly for them, isn't it Smile?
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