Canoe man John Darwin: New probe into fraudster's assets

John Darwin John Darwin was convicted of insurance fraud, along with his wife Anne

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A man jailed for faking his own death in a canoe accident to claim insurance money is at the centre of a new police probe.

John Darwin, of Seaton Carew, Teesside, faked his own death in 2002 so his then-wife Anne could claim £500,000.

Darwin, 63, was jailed for six years in 2008 for insurance fraud and served three years.

Police said he was now being probed again under the Proceeds of Crime Act regarding possible "undeclared assets".

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said a hearing was being held on 8 April at Teesside Crown Court.

Darwin was reported missing in a canoe off the Teesside coast in March 2002.

His wife collected more than £500,000 in life insurance payouts, while he hid in their home, allowing their two sons to think he was dead.

In December 2007, Darwin walked into a London police station, claiming he had amnesia, and was reunited with his stunned sons.

John and Anne Darwin photographed for the Move to Panama website John and Anne Darwin were infamously photographed in Panama in 2006

His wife, who had fled with him to Panama, had initially claimed to be surprised until a photograph emerged of them posing together after his supposed death.

She was later jailed for six-and-a-half-years for fraud and money-laundering.

After the pair were jailed, assets including a fourth-floor apartment in Panama City and an overgrown plot of land near the artificial Lake Gatun were seized and sold.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was granted a confiscation order to retrieve the money Mrs Darwin received from her insurance companies and pension funds.

All the money held in accounts in the UK and Panama, which totalled about £9,000, was also seized.

A Cleveland Police spokesman said: "We can confirm that the regional asset recovery team is conducting an investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act."

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