Where is the ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin Now?
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.
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.
In Between Days festival cancelled just days before its debut in Newcastle’s Times Square
A new music festival set to make its debut in Newcastle this weekend has been cancelled two days before its debut.
In shock news this Wednesday, the festival In Between Days, which had been due to play out in Times Square over three days from this Friday to Sunday, announced it has been called off, without giving any explanation of the reason.
The event had been set to star Happy Mondays and Ian Brown and local favourites Andrew Cushin and Liam Fender were also on the bill.
The festival set to take place on May 26-28 had just been announced in March, with organisers Tokyo Live promising many more acts to be announced. But now music lovers are left shocked and disappointed by a statement posted by organisers on the festival website which said: “We gave it our best shot. We are so very sorry to have to deliver the news that the In Between Days Festival will not be going ahead.
“It breaks our heart to make this announcement; no company sets out with an intention to cancel, postpone or reschedule an event (and when we have to cancel like this, we have to write off the significant amount of money we’ve spent so far).”
It added: “We were so excited to play host to some of the biggest names and the best talent in the world, but sadly it’s not to be this time. To everyone who has supported us, we are so very grateful but obviously very disappointed that we have not been able to make this a reality for you.
“We would like to offer our thanks to all the artists, partner agencies, suppliers and of course, our ticket holders for supporting us – we are so sorry to have disappointed you all. Ticket holders will receive an automatic refund (to include fees). Thank you for your understanding.”
Beyoncé Expected set list as Renaissance tour heads to Sunderland
Beyoncé is set to wow Wearside tomorrow (May 23) for her Renaissance world tour.
More than 48,000 fans are set to descend on the city for the date at the Stadium of Light, one of only four UK venues chosen for the mammoth tour.
Here’s the setlist in full from previous nights, which features a huge 36 tracks across three hours, from new hits to old favourites:
– Dangerously in Love
– Flaws and All
– I’m Going Down
– I Care
– I’M THAT GIRL
– ALIEN SUPERSTAR
– Lift Off
– CUFF IT
– BREAK MY SOUL
– Run the World (Girls)
– MY POWER
– BLACK PARADE
– Savage (Remix)
– CHURCH GIRL
– Get Me Bodied
– Before I Let Go
– Rather Die Young
– Love on Top
– Crazy in Love
– PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA
– VIRGO’S GROOVE
– Naughty Girl
– ALL UP IN YOUR MIND
– Drunk in Love
– AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM
– SUMMER RENAISSANCE
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Disney On Ice announces return to Newcastle Arena – here’s how to get tickets
Mickey and a host of favourite characters will skate into Utilita Arena Newcastle from Wednesday, December 6 to Sunday, December 10 2023 celebrating the magic of Disney’s 100th Anniversary with Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Wonder.
The hugely popular Encanto features in the ice show for the very first time in the UK, when Mickey Mouse is joined by his friends on a journey to discover his favourite memory of all time.
Families will be part of the action and help the gang venture through Disney stories, sharing memorable moments from treasured tales.
Journey to a vibrant town in the mountains of Colombia to meet Mirabel and her family who live in a magical casita in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto.
Sail away with Moana as she displays courage to save her island on a high-seas adventure with the demigod, Maui.
Caroline Ginnane, General Manager of the Utilita Arena Newcastle, added: “We are always delighted to host Disney On Ice here at the arena, and this year’s show is a particularly special celebration heralding Disney’s 100th Anniversary.
“Seeing Encanto for the first time on ice will be a real treat, as well as much loved audience favourites including Moana, Frozen and Toy Story.
“It’s always heart-warming to see families making special memories, singing and dancing along with favourite Disney stars in an enchanting ice spectacular which has become an exciting pre-Christmas treat here at Utilita Arena Newcastle.”
The production will skate into Utilita Arena Newcastle from December 6-10, 2023.
Priority Customers can take advantage of the pre-sale from Friday May 19, 2023 by signing up at www.prioritycustomer.co.uk.
Tickets then go on general sale from Friday May 26, 2023 at www.disneyonice.co.uk.
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