'Dead' Canoeist's Wife Found Guilty

The back-from-the-dead canoeist case is over. Anne and John Darwin were both sentenced to more than six years in prison today for participating in a fraud in which the British couple faked John's death to fraudulently claim a $500,000 insurance payout.

Anne Darwin, who was found guilt today of fraud and money laundering, was sentenced to six and half years in prison. Her husband John, who pleaded guilty earlier to seven charges of obtaining cash by deception, was sentenced six years and three months.

Anne Darwin, who admitted being involved in the plan to fake her husband's death, convinced an insurance company as well as her two sons, family and friends that her husband he was dead. She pleaded "marital coercion," meaning that her husband forced to do it.

In the last week, the court heard Anne Darwin describe how her husband always got his own way. "What ever John wants, John got," Darwin told the court.

But the jury dismissed her claims and found her guilty of six counts of fraud and nine of money laundering.

In 2002, John Darwin, 57, vanished while canoeing, and 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.

His wife subsequently sold the family home and moved to Panama. Then on Dec. 1, 2007, John Darwin walked into a London police station, claiming to be suffering from amnesia. A photo later emerged showing the couple together in Panama while he was still believed to be missing.

An investigation subsequently determined that the couple had faked the canoeing death.

The BBC has reported that the detective who led the investigation, Det. Insp Andy Greenwood, said, "We're pleased with the verdict received. Anne Darwin has been a compulsive liar."

"This is just 'half time,'" Greenwood told the BBC. "Asset recovery teams will make sure that all the couple's financial benefits realized from this plot will be brought back into this country."

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