The Canoeist Who Came Back From the Dead

British canoeist John Darwin, who faked his own death and defrauded insurance companies, also cheated on his wife and controlled every decision she made, according to court testimony.

A U.K. court heard how John and Anne Darwin staged the disappearance to try to escape a financial crisis by defrauding insurance companies of $500,000. Anne Darwin has been in court for the past three days. She is also accused of fraud.

In 2002, John Darwin, 57, vanished after his canoe was found in the sea close to his home in Seaton Carew, England. An extensive search by the police and coast guard found no trace of his body. He was pronounced dead the next year.

Anne Darwin subsequently sold the family home and moved to Panama. Then on December 1, 2007, John Darwin walked into a London police station, claiming to be suffering from amnesia. That's when his story began to unravel.

Anne, who was arrested at Manchester Airport when she flew back to England following her husband's reappearance, doesn't deny being involved in the plan to fake her husband's death. But she says that her husband pressured her to go along with it. She has pleaded not guilty to six charges of deception and nine of money-laundering.

Today in court, Anne Darwin described how her husband dominated her throughout their married life, and even had an affair.

ABC News spoke to Neil Hunter, a local reporter from the British newspaper, The Northern Echo, who watched the proceedings in court today. Hunter said that Anne Darwin spoke very quietly and was asked several times to speak louder. However, she answered questions at length.

She painted a picture of a marriage where she was dominated and manipulated. She said repeatedly, "What ever John wants, John got."

She described how she had collected her husband just after he had faked his death, back in March 2002. She said she drove him to the train station but pleaded with him all the way. "I was upset that he could do such a thing. I pleaded with him not to do it but it made no difference."

Anne also spoke briefly of her husband's affair. "I did consider leaving him, but I just couldn't see a life without him. I didn't know how I would cope on my own, so I forgave him."

She said she thought he might be having another affair with a woman from Kansas, in the United States. He enjoyed role-playing computer games on the Internet and she believes he flew to Kansas to visit a woman he met while playing the game.

According to Hunter, the Darwin sons, Mark, 32, and Anthony, 39, watched her intently as she gave evidence from the witness box but they made no eye contact. On Tuesday they spoke of how they were angry that she had betrayed them.

Yesterday, the court heard transcripts of interviews conducted by police with Anne Darwin.

According to the BBC, she told the police that her husband had begged to come home from his hideout just weeks after he disappeared.

The transcript read: "…He was finding it hard. He was getting desperate … I wanted to leave him there. I didn't want to go and pick him up, but I couldn't leave him."

The court heard how she told police she had tried to persuade her husband to declare bankruptcy, but he did not want to lose everything he had worked for.

The transcript read: "I knew it was stupid but, once I set out along the road, it was difficult to turn back."

On Tuesday, the two Darwin sons gave evidence for the prosecution.

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