'Dead' canoeist to be charged
Police are to charge 'dead' canoeist, a week after he resurfaced claiming to have forgotten everything since vanishing five years ago.
Cleveland Police in northeastern England, where the 57-year-old has been questioned since his arrest last week, made the decision hours before a deadline for them to either charge him or release him.
Meanwhile, his wife has said debts, love and spiralling lies made her go along with her husband's faked death and live with him in secret for years, in an extraordinary confession to British newspapers today.
'I know it seems too incredible to be true, but it is,' Anne Darwin said, revealing details about the bizarre case of John Darwin and how they fooled the authorities, friends, and even their two children.
'For three years, while virtually everyone close to us believed John was missing, presumed dead, he was actually at home with me.' she said.
She said he turned up 11 months after vanishing and then lived with her in secret, even hiding in the adjoining bedsit when their grieving sons visited.
Her husband, 57, was fed up after five years of living a lie and decided to turn up at a London police station one week ago pretending he had amnesia in order to see their sons again, she said.
Anne Darwin, 55, spoke out in an interview carried in the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror tabloids.
Her husband is being held by police on suspicion of fraud.
The pair had been trying to start afresh in Panama City this year. Anne Darwin has left Panama in the last few days and the Daily Mail's story was datelined Miami. She is also likely to be arrested if she returns to Britain.
Recounting the story, she said the couple had about 12 houses as rental investments in County Durham, north-east England and began to run up debts of tens of thousands of pounds.
John Darwin told her faking his own death was the only way out and on March 22 2002 he took his canoe out to sea and did not return, though the canoe washed up weeks later.
'I really thought that he was dead,' his wife insisted.
In February 2003, Anne Darwin says she had a knock at her door and it was her husband.
'I was shocked but I could not leave him standing their on the doorstep,' she said. 'I know I should have been happy but basically we argued because I was so annoyed, upset and angry.
I genuinely thought John had had an accident in the sea and drowned' she said.
He occasionally stayed elsewhere but eventually moved in, using a woolly hat, upturned collar, walking stick and limp to disguise himself outdoors.
He successfully applied for a passport in the name of John Jones, using an adjoining bedsit they owned for an address. He hid there whenever anyone came to visit.
Cooped up indoors, he spent time on the Internet, met an American woman online and went to Kansas for a few weeks.
They went to Cyprus with a view to moving there before turning to Panama City, where they bought an apartment for $97,000 in April this year.
'For the first time in years, John seemed relaxed and happy again,' Anne Darwin said.
'It was as if our marriage was reborn -- as if a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders.'
When he had to return to Britain as his visa was running out, he told his wife he was going to re-emerge and claim amnesia.
'He said it was because he didn't want to live the rest of his life in hiding,' she said, 'The plan was to pay back the life insurance money.'
She said her husband 'was convinced he would get away with the amnesia story but he was tired and had had enough of living in hiding.'
Both newspapers specified that Anne Darwin neither sought nor received payment for her interview.
Detectives interviewing John Darwin can apply again by 11:30pm today to hold him for a further 24 hours but before Monday they must either bring charges, bail him or free him.
Sons Anthony, 29, and Mark, 31, have vented their anger, disbelief and confusion and have said they want no further contact with their parents.
'Now everything is a mess and I am just so sorry for all the upset I have caused my family and friends, but most particularly my boys,' Anne Darwin said.