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Where is the ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin Now?

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Two decades after Hartlepool prison officer John Darwin attempted to fake his own death in a canoeing ‘accident’, ITV aired a dramatised version of the bizarre events.

The former prison officer paddled out to sea in a canoe near his family home at Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, before ditching the vessel to give the impression that he drowned. The ‘Canoe Man’ had attempted to disappear in 2002 in order for his wife Anne to claim life insurance money before being caught out in 2007 and jailed for six years for the fraud. After his disappearance in March 2002, a large-scale search involving the scouring of 62 square miles of coastline looked to have confirmed the worst, as only a single paddle and then the wreckage of his kayak was discovered.

For much of Darwin’s missing five years, he had been living in secret in his own home in the seaside resort of Seaton Carew, where he shared a bed with his wife. When family and friends visited and his sons returned from the inquest into his alleged death, Darwin hid in a bedsit next door that was accessed through a passageway hidden behind the door of a fake cupboard.

Darwin later admitted that he would carry out DIY on the front of his family home and even walked around his area disguised as an old man – even as his two now grown-up sons Anthony and Mark continued to grieve for him thinking he was dead. The couple even lied to their own children as they attempted to claim pension, benefits and insurance to clear nearly £700,000 before they were caught.

Just under a year after he disappeared, Darwin turned up at his family home looking ‘an absolute mess’, his wife said.She claimed that she had really believed he was dead before he turned up.

‘Although I was pleased he was still alive, I think deep down a part of me was always angry,’ she said.

‘To think of what he put us all through. He had basically come back expecting me to forgive him.’

She claimed that she wanted to report what he had done but he then threatened to say she had been involved from the start, so she was ‘trapped’. At the inquest into his disappearance in April 2003, Mrs Darwin was able to have her husband declared dead, even though the seven years that is usually needed after someone has gone missing had not yet passed.

The couple eventually decided to leave Seaton Carew and move to Panama City to start a new life together before their secret was exposed by the discovery of an infamous photo of them posing in a Panama real estate office in July 2006. Darwin, stole the identity of a dead baby named John Jones.

The family home was sold and the couple spent several months together in Panama after they had bought a £50,000 two-bed apartment in a suburb of Panama City. They also hoped to open a canoeing centre for eco-tourists.

But Darwin then wanted to return to the UK because, Mrs Darwin said, he missed his sons. He said he would claim to have suffered amnesia.

The famous Panama photo, 2006

Knowing there was a viral photograph of them in Panama, Darwin walked into a police station in December 2007 and said he thought he was a ‘missing person’ but said he could not remember anything that had happened in the past five years.

When their two sons were called to the police station to be reunited with their father, the couple had to pretend to be astonished as they too saw each other again.

During their time in prison, the couple divorced with John citing ‘unreasonable  behaviour’ as a reason for the split. John moved to Manila and remarried after the divorce to Filipino woman Mercy Mae Avila Darwin, 48.

In 2008, after the scandal made national headlines, John was found guilty on deception charges and jailed for six years and three months. Anne was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail for fraud and money-laundering charges. After her release from prison, Anne Darwin moved to a village near York and was able to get a job with the RSCPA thanks to qualifications she gained in prison.

ITV drama about John and Anne Darwin’s fraud. The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe airs in April.

Best of North East

Sam Fender: How Much Are Tickets?

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Sam Fender has delighted fans by announcing a huge stadium show at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park. The North Shields singer will play at the home of Newcastle United on June 9, 2023 and fans can sign up for pre sale tickets now.

The 28-year-old singer will follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, for his performance and becomes the first Geordie musician to headline the iconic stadium.

It’s been a huge 2022 so far for the ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ singer, picking up BRIT, NME, and Ivor Novello Awards, and a first nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize next week, for his second album, the critically acclaimed number one album, ‘Seventeen Going Under’.

Tickets for the huge stadium show go on general sale at 10am on Friday, September 9 via Ticketmaster and See Tickets. Pre-sale goes live at 10am on Wednesday, September 7.

But how much are tickets? Pitch standing tickets are £57.50 (plus fees) and seating tickets start from £47.50 (plus fees).

Speaking of the show, Sam Fender said: “Ever since I started this band, I always used to joke with the boys that one day we might play St James’ Park in Newcastle.

“It’s a childhood dream come true, and we’re actually gonna play it on the 9th June. This is literally gonna be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show, which is so weird to say! I can’t wait, it’s gonna be absolutely lush and I hope to see yas all there.”

Support for the show will come from Inhaler and Holly Humberstone.

Will you be trying to bag tickets? Do you think they are a reasonable price?

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Entertainment

Top Gun star Tom Cruise spotted at Teesside Airport

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An A-list actor has been seen stepping off a jet at a North East airport.

Top Gun star Tom Cruise was seen just before 11:30am on Tuesday 6 September at Teesside airport.

Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, said: “Another day, another Hollywood superstar flies into Teesside Airport.”An eagle eyed Teessider caught Tom Cruise flying into the airport before he boarded a helicopter.”

He added: “Apparently he was piloting the helicopter when he got on, not sure about the plane though.”

The Hollywood actor had previously been spotted in the region filming the newest instalment of the Mission Impossible series in the village of Levisham, near Pickering, North Yorkshire.

According to a source, Cruise was “very friendly” and had waved and smiled at onlookers as he made his way across the tarmac. After a few friendly exchanges from afar, the star was whisked away in a car before boarding a helicopter bound for an undisclosed destination.

It is thought that Mr Cruise arrived to and from the Mission Impossible set in this helicopter.

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Best of North East

How to get tickets for Sam Fender’s huge St James’ Park 2023 show!

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Sam Fender has delighted fans by announcing a huge stadium show at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park. The North Shields singer will play at the home of Newcastle United on June 9, 2023 and fans can sign up for pre sale tickets now.

The 28-year-old singer will follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, for his performance and becomes the first Geordie musician to headline the iconic stadium.

It’s been a huge 2022 so far for the ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ singer, picking up BRIT, NME, and Ivor Novello Awards, and a first nomination for the prestigious Mercury Prize next week, for his second album, the critically acclaimed number one album, ‘Seventeen Going Under’.

Tickets for the huge stadium show go on general sale at 10am on Friday, September 9 via Ticketmaster and See Tickets. Pre-sale goes live at 10am on Wednesday, September 7.

Fans can add their details here before 5pm on Tuesday, September 6 to get early access! With Pre-sale codes being sent by 6pm tonight.

Speaking of the show, Sam Fender said: “Ever since I started this band, I always used to joke with the boys that one day we might play St James’ Park in Newcastle.

“It’s a childhood dream come true, and we’re actually gonna play it on the 9th June. This is literally gonna be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show, which is so weird to say! I can’t wait, it’s gonna be absolutely lush and I hope to see yas all there.”

Support for the show will come from Inhaler and Holly Humberstone.

Will you be trying to bag tickets?

Continue Reading

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