Canoe conman John Darwin ‘set to return to Panama’

Canoe fraudster John Darwin is set to return to the country he fled to after faking his own death – because he “misses the hot weather” there, it has been reported.

Darwin, from Seaton Carew, was jailed for six years and three months for fraud in 2007 after faking his own death in a canoeing accident five years earlier.

John Darwin

John Darwin

The 64-year-old, along with ex-wife Anne, had tried to fleece hundreds of thousands of pounds from insurance firms, and they fled to Panama, in Central America, to start a new life.

He stole the identity of dead Sunderland baby John Jones – much to the anger and hurt of his surviving siblings.

Alf Jones, of Pallion, Sunderland, subsequently called for changes in the Government’s system to prevent stealing the identities of the deceased.

Dawrin is now free to leave the UK after repaying £40,000, which had been ordered under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

He is planning to return to Panama next week.

He was reported as saying: “I miss the hot weather there and the people and laid-back attitude in the country.

“I’m off next week.”

Darwin disappeared in March 2002 after going canoeing, and was declared dead 13 months later.

In 2007, though, he walked into a London police station claiming he was suffering from amnesia, and did not know where he had been.

The dad-of-two was found out when pictures emerged of him with an estate agent in Panama, four years after he had apparently died.

His wife Anne was jailed for six years and six months for fraud and money laundering.