Fake death conman John Darwin 'has repaid just £121'

John Darwin leaving Teesside Crown Court
Image caption Darwin made a brief appearance at Teesside Crown Court

Convicted canoe death fraudster John Darwin has repaid just £121 of a £679,000 proceeds of crime order, a court has heard.

Darwin, 63, of Seaton Carew, Teesside, faked his own death in 2002 so his then-wife Anne could claim £500,000.

He served three years of a six-year jail term for insurance fraud.

Teesside Crown Court heard he may now have to use a recently matured pension to repay the cash he cheated out of insurance companies.

The father of two appeared in court after police began fresh proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

A judge had previously ordered he should repay £679,073, but the court was told divorced Darwin, who is claiming benefits, has only been able to hand back £121.

The Crown has now applied for him to repay more, as a pension has matured. A hearing to decide the matter will be held in May.

Panama photograph

Darwin did not speak during the brief hearing before Judge Howard Crowson.

Anne Darwin, now split from her husband, has repaid more than £500,000 under a separate Proceeds of Crime order.

John Darwin was reported missing in a canoe in the North Sea in March 2002.

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

In December 2007, he walked into a London police station, claiming he had amnesia, and was reunited with his sons who were stunned to hear he was alive.

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

Image copyright Other
Image caption John and Anne Darwin were infamously photographed in Panama in 2006

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

Earlier this year police said John Darwin was being investigated again under the Proceeds of Crime Act regarding possible "undeclared assets".

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.

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