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Canoe conman facing cheating bill

Canoe fraudster John Darwin may have to repay cash he cheated out of insurance companies after faking his own death now that a pension has matured, it has emerged.

The 63-year-old who was jailed with his wife Anne in 2008 for fraud appeared at Teesside Crown Court for a brief Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

A judge has previously ordered he should repay £679,073 but the divorced Darwin who is claiming benefits has only been able to hand back £122.

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.

Darwin, of Seaton Carew, 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 to believe he was dead.

In December 2007, Darwin 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.

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

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