Forums

 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages 
Canoeist missing for five years turns up alive
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Fortean News stories
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 08-12-2007 09:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now it all begins to come out...

Canoeist 'lived at family home'

The wife of a man presumed drowned in a 2002 canoe accident has said he lived in part of the family home for three years after being declared dead.
Anne Darwin said her husband hid in a bedsit in a house they owned next door when family or friends visited to prevent them discovering the truth.

John Darwin, 57, vanished from the Hartlepool area in March 2002.

He walked into a police station last week claiming amnesia and is now being questioned on suspicion of fraud.

Cleveland Police have been granted an extra 36 hours to question him and may apply for a further extension if necessary.

Police also want to speak to Mrs Darwin, 55, who sold the family home in Seaton Carew and moved to Panama six weeks ago.

She is thought to be in Miami but expected to return to the UK this weekend.

'Hid in bedsit'

Mrs Darwin told reporters her husband plotted his Reggie Perrin-style disappearance to escape debts "in the tens of thousands".

"John said there was only one way out of the situation, and that was to fake his death. I pleaded with him not to do it, I said it was the wrong thing to do," she said.

Mrs Darwin maintains she did not know he had gone ahead with the scam until he turned up on her doorstep in Seaton Carew 11 months after going missing, looking like he had been "living rough".

She claimed he threatened to say she was involved from the start if she reported him.

"He lived at the house with me for three years. We lived as man and wife," she added.

Mr Darwin was declared dead by a coroner in 2003.

Mrs Darwin has previously said she claimed on his life insurance "in good faith" but has now told reporters she knew he was alive before the pay out.

'Missed sons'

She said he lived with her in the main family home most of the time and hid in a small bedsit in a house they owned next door when guests or their two sons, Anthony and Mark, visited.

The lure of Panama

"They were tortured. And yes, it was hard to keep up the front. I so wanted to tell them but I was in too deep, how could I possibly explain to them that I'd known their father was alive?" she told journalists.

Both sons have said they want nothing more to do with their mother or father.

They insist they did not know their father was alive and say they are furious at being made the victims of what they describe as a "large scam".

Mr and Mrs Darwin later bought an apartment in Panama and she moved there seven weeks ago after selling up in England. But he had to come back because he could not remain without a visa and missed their sons, according to reports.

Police say they have received calls from "all over the world" after appealing for information about Mr Darwin.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7133961.stm
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 08-12-2007 11:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

..and the Times has this:

John Darwin ‘hoped to offer canoe holidays at his tropical retreat’
On the shores of an idyllic lake, The Times tracks down the hideaway that couple planned to develop as an ecotourism centre
David Sharrock in Escobal, Panama

The secret tropical estate to which John and Anne Darwin planned to disappear has been tracked down by The Times.

Bought six months ago it lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Panama Canal and was discovered at the end of a complex paper trail designed to conceal the identities of its new owners. The site, located on the shores of a freshwater lake, is popular with adventure canoeists and seems like the ultimate hideaway in a country renowned for what may politely be described as financial discretion.

While police in Cleveland were granted a further 36 hours yesterday to question the former prison officer who was believed drowned five years ago, The Times can reveal that he and his “widow” were planning to develop an eco-tourism resort. They had promised to bring jobs and prosperity to a backward region of this Central American republic.

The collapse of the fantasy world of the Darwins, however, has dealt a heavy blow to the village of Escobal, where their grandiose hotel scheme is known by all simply as “el Proyecto” — the Project.

John and Anne Darwin set their plan in motion to invest half a million US dollars in property in Panama in April this year, via a company called Jaguar Properties Corporation SA, inside which they could disappear.

They spent $90,000 (£44,390) on a two-bedroom apartment in a middle-class district of Panama City — $56,000 of which was for the building and the rest for fixtures and fittings — and a further $389,711 on the purchase of “Finca no. 1031” also known as Finca Escobal, a 194-hectare plot of virgin forest on the banks of Lake Gatún.

The property company that helped the Darwins to find the estate told The Times that it was fully co-operating with the British authorities in the investigation into the money trail.

The rugged “finca” consists of forest that is home to tapirs and toucans, situated on the outskirts of the village of Escobal in Colón, a province of Panama that Sir Francis Drake called “the treasure trove of the world”. Another English traveller was less flattering. “In all the world there is not, perhaps, now concentrated in a single spot so much swindling and villainy,” James Froude wrote in 1886.

It seems possible that Mr Darwin, 57, was planning to offer customers the ultimate kayaking holiday.

The purchase went through on June 11, at the same time that the Darwins paid for the two-bedroom apartment in Panama City.

In the rutted, single street running through Escobal, where dogs laid motionless in the heat and chickens pecked at weeds, locals nodded as they recognised the Darwins in the now famous photograph that exposed their deception. But they also produced a newer picture of Mr Darwin, taken in July, inspecting piles of rubbish tipped illegally on his land. A letter of complaint to Jaime Luna, the municipal chief of Escobal, is signed “Anne Darwin, President and legal representative Jaguar Properties Corporation”.

Mrs Darwin, 55, warned the local chief that fly-tipping was endangering her company’s investment and the viability of its tourism project, which was going to “provide a great economic impulse” to Escobal. She would soon be bringing tourists to the area “and we do not want to present a bad image that might affect our investment and consequently the economic benefits to the region”.

Police are now awaiting her return to Britain and confirmed that she would face arrest once she landed.

Leticia Escobar, the secretary to the town council of Escobal, said: “They told us they represented a consortium and had been looking all over Panama for the right location for their investment.

“They presented themselves as husband and wife, but now we’ve heard all about how he allegedly faked his death to get the insurance. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the land but I suppose the hotel will never be built now.”

Julio Nuñez, a municipal policeman who helped to secure the Darwins’ estate with a wire fence and signs warning off trespassers, showed The Times around the land, pointing out the spectacular lake and jungle views.

“They visited here twice after buying the land. They planned to build a cable car from the hotel through the trees down to the water, where you can kayak on the lake. They didn’t speak much Spanish but they did tell us they were married.”

Briseida Bracho, the town magistrate who registered the land purchase, said: “We were really happy they bought the land and with their plan to create the eco-tourism resort because it meant jobs for the town. But we didn’t know their circumstances, they didn’t say anything about that.

“I was shocked when I saw Anne’s face in the newspaper and read that her husband had disappeared.”

Manuel Cupas Fernandez, a respected lawyer and public notary, who was a prominent opponent of Panama´s General Noriega, confirmed that in April he was given a special power of attorney to purchase the city flat and the land by Jaguar Properties Corporation SA. “I met Anne and she mentioned that she was a widow and wanted to buy some properties, that she was planning to move here. She said that she had to sell some properties in England. She always said that she was a widow and I also met John, but she introduced him to me as a friend of hers. She said that she was planning to move to Escobal.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article3019147.ece
Back to top
View user's profile 
KondoruOffline
Unfeathered Biped
Joined: 05 Dec 2003
Total posts: 5371
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 08-12-2007 15:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is sad.

lets hope someone else jumps in on the project
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 09-12-2007 07:07    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another Matt cartoon

- http://tinyurl.com/28yyva

Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 09-12-2007 12:45    Post subject: Reply with quote

...but in RL it looks like it'll end in tears:

Canoeist wife arrested back in UK

The wife of John Darwin, the canoeist who turned up after being presumed dead, has been arrested as she arrived back in the UK.
Anne Darwin, who had been living in Panama, was arrested at 0925 GMT at Manchester Airport.

She was detained over allegations of fraud and is expected to face questioning by detectives later.

Cleveland Police have already charged John Darwin, 57, a former prison officer, with deception offences.

Mrs Darwin has since left the airport.

Questioning

A spokeswoman for Cleveland police confirmed Mrs Darwin's arrest.

She said: "Anne Darwin has been arrested and detained by police at Manchester Airport, having returned this morning on an overnight flight from Atlanta."

The spokeswoman said Mrs Darwin would be escorted by police officers back to Cleveland.

Mrs Darwin's detention follows the arrest of Mr Darwin at his son's house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on Tuesday on suspicion of fraud.

etc

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/7135079.stm
Back to top
View user's profile 
stunevilleOffline
Admin
Joined: 09 Mar 2002
Total posts: 8587
Location: FTMB HQ
Age: 47
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 10-12-2007 07:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

rynner wrote:
Quote:
She said: "Anne Darwin has been arrested and detained by police at Manchester Airport, having returned this morning on an overnight flight from Atlanta."
I must say they seem pretty heavy handed - according to the Times:
Quote:
Within minutes of the plane landing, an air hostess said over the speaker system: “Could Mrs Darwin please come forward.” She was arrested by armed officers from Greater Manchester Police.
According to News 24 several uniformed officers armed with SMGs boarded the plane and escorted her off before any other passengers were allowed to alight. What did they think she was going to do, exactly?
Back to top
View user's profile Send e-mail 
MeJellyfishOffline
Grey
Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Total posts: 12
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 10-12-2007 08:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well she's very wealthy and was about to purchase a jungle hideout so she could have many other hidden Bond-villain extras, such as sharks in her pockets (with frickin lasers) or may even have been converted to part cyborg. This is pure speculation though, my sources are notoriously unreliable.
Back to top
View user's profile 
SpookdaddyOffline
Cuckoo
Joined: 24 May 2006
Total posts: 3932
Location: Midwich
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 11-12-2007 16:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

This might have been pointed out before but it struck me when the story started to unravel that the inevitable future headline, DARWIN ON TRIAL FOR FRAUD (or something similar), is going to have swivel-eyed creationists spotting their boxers with glee worldwide!!
Back to top
View user's profile 
maximus_otterOffline
Recovering policeman
Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Total posts: 240
Location: You don't have the "Need to Know."
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 12-12-2007 12:08    Post subject: Reply with quote

stuneville wrote:
I must say they seem pretty heavy handed. According to News 24 several uniformed officers armed with SMGs boarded the plane and escorted her off before any other passengers were allowed to alight. What did they think she was going to do, exactly?


Reporter-speak. They are paid to make popping out of the office for a latte and a biscotti sound like the Ardennes Offensive.

I have little doubt that what happened was as follows:

1. A vehicle crewed by three officers went to the plane. One driver, two patrol officers.

2. Two of the officers - who are obliged to be armed with carbines, not SMGs, because it's an international airport - boarded the plane.

3. The arrest was made before any passengers were allowed to leave in order to prevent the suspect - who is obviously a flight risk - from "blending with the crowd" of hundreds of passengers milling around and elbowing their way off the plane and across the tarmac.

That's the way I'd write it, which was why I was a policeman, not a hack. Wink

maximus otter
Back to top
View user's profile 
Fizz32Offline
Dragon Breeder
Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Total posts: 268
Location: Just Off Topic
Gender: Female
PostPosted: 12-12-2007 14:12    Post subject: Reply with quote

What puzzled me was that it was Manchester Airport, where every 'plane except the small domestic flights disembark down the 'tubes' into Arrivals and baggage collection, without actually touching the tarmac, so it would have been easy to apprehend her as she came off the 'plane.

Why didn't they just let all the other passengers off first and then send the police onto the plane?

I didn't see any female police officers - there again, I've seen very few pics of her arriving - but I thought it was procedure to make sure a female was there? Maximus, perhaps you can give me an informed answer to that?

I don't think she was that much of a 'flight risk' - if she'd wanted to avoid arrest, she wouldn't have come back to the UK, would she?
Back to top
View user's profile 
KondoruOffline
Unfeathered Biped
Joined: 05 Dec 2003
Total posts: 5371
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 12-12-2007 15:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for clarifying that, maximus, I have friends on other boards sctratching their heads over the `caaution und cosideratun` (to quote a certain West coast skipper) of the english law.

But I would have stayed away, myself.
Back to top
View user's profile 
maximus_otterOffline
Recovering policeman
Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Total posts: 240
Location: You don't have the "Need to Know."
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 12-12-2007 17:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fizz32 wrote:
...I thought it was procedure to make sure a female was there?


Under ideal circumstances, yes.

However, manpower being so stretched, and female firearms officers so (relatively) rare, I imagine they had to use whoever was available.

maximus otter
Back to top
View user's profile 
rynner
Location: Still above sea level
Gender: Male
PostPosted: 16-12-2007 08:21    Post subject: Reply with quote

The story rumbles on..

Canoeist's sons face police questioning
By Jasper Copping and Patrick Sawer
Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 16/12/2007

The sons of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin and his wife Anne are to be interviewed by police "within days".

Anthony and Mark Darwin face questioning by officers trying to establish what they knew about the alleged plot to fake Mr Darwin's death in order to claim on his life insurance.

Det Insp Andy Greenwood, from Cleveland Police, said: "We will be sitting down and talking to them properly within days."

Anthony, 29, and Mark, 32, have maintained they had no idea their father was still alive until he walked into a London police station earlier this month.

DI Greenwood said: "If we are to believe what Mr and Mrs Darwin have told us, the sons knew nothing, but until we speak to them we don't know what they will say.

"We will be talking to them separately, as information could be contaminated. The sons are speaking to us again. They went and sought some advice from a lawyer, to make sure they weren't saying anything they shouldn't."

He said officers had spoken to Kelly Steele, a mother of three from Kansas, whom Mr Darwin is reported to have asked to buy him land in the American state.

Mr Darwin, 57, struck up a friendship with Mrs Steele over the internet and persuaded her to purchase a remote 20-acre farm in Kansas with £10,000 he gave her during a visit in 2004.

Mrs Steele has denied she and Mr Darwin were lovers.
Confused

The Darwins were remanded in custody last Friday and will now spend Christmas apart.

Mr Darwin, who reappeared five years after going missing off the north-east coast at Hartlepool in March 2002, is accused of falsely claiming £25,000 life insurance and obtaining a false passport.

Mrs Darwin is charged with obtaining £25,000 from her husband's life insurance.

http://tinyurl.com/2fa6nl
Back to top
View user's profile 
MeJellyfishOffline
Grey
Joined: 07 Dec 2007
Total posts: 12
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 16-12-2007 08:44    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's true that they both left their jobs within a few days of one another just before their dad handed himself in, I find it difficult to see how they can justify that if they didn't know. Particularly with their dad living next door to their mum for 5 years!
Back to top
View user's profile 
StormkhanOffline
Disturbingly familiar
Joined: 28 May 2003
Total posts: 3897
Location: Robin Hood country.
Gender: Unknown
PostPosted: 16-12-2007 19:56    Post subject: Reply with quote

However, as any Fortean can witness, real life is full of coincidences.

They'd been offered a job (independently of each other) and handed in their notice at just the time their father had given himself up ... er ... arrived at a police station, just three weeks after his wife had sold up everything and moved to Panama.

Oh, let's face it - the truth is utterly unbelievable compared to fiction!

The Man in a Canoe From Seaton Carew - even the title is too damn good for reality!
Back to top
View user's profile Visit poster's website 
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Fortean Times Message Board Forum Index -> Fortean News stories All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Page 4 of 7

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group