Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Thursday, 13 March 2008

Missing canoeist admits deception

John and Anne Darwin
John and Anne Darwin face a string of fraud charges

Canoeist John Darwin, who walked into a police station five years after being presumed dead, has admitted seven charges of obtaining cash by deception.

He also admitted a passport offence but denied nine charges of using criminal property at Leeds Crown Court.

His wife Anne, 55, denied six deception charges and nine of using criminal property and will face trial in July.

Darwin, 57, vanished after his canoe was found in the sea close to his home at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool, in 2002.

He will not face trial for the charges he denied, which will be left to lie on file, prosecutors said.

Airport arrest

When Darwin vanished, a huge air-sea search failed to find any trace of his body, and he was pronounced dead by police and a coroner the following year.

Mrs Darwin subsequently sold the family home and moved to Panama.

She was arrested at Manchester Airport when she flew back to England following her husband's reappearance.

The couple's sons Mark, 32, and Anthony, 29, are not being treated as suspects and are "innocent victims", said detectives.

Mrs Darwin will stand trial at Teesside Crown Court on 14 July.

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