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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:09 GMT
Court remands canoeist in custody
John Darwin
John Darwin went missing while out in a canoe five years ago
A man who was presumed dead in a canoeing accident has been remanded in custody on charges of deception.

John Darwin, 57, is accused of obtaining a 25,000 life insurance policy by deception and making an untrue statement to get a passport.

He spoke only to reply "correct" when asked to confirm his name at Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

Police are questioning Mr Darwin's wife Anne, 55, who was arrested on suspicion of fraud on Sunday.

Mr Darwin will make another appearance in court via a videolink on Friday. He was arrested at his son's house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on Tuesday.

The canoeist was declared dead by the Hartlepool coroner in 2003.

Mr Darwin appeared in the dock accompanied by a single security guard during the brief magistrates' court hearing.

The first charge he faces is that on 16 May 2003 he fraudulently obtained 25,000 from Unat Direct Insurance Management Limited by deception, by falsely representing that he had been killed in an accident on or about 21 March 2002.

The second charge he faces relates to making statements known to be untrue to obtain a passport.

Anne Darwin and a police officer
Anne Darwin is being interviewed by police after returning to the UK

Mr Darwin did not enter a plea and there was no application for bail made.

The chairman of the bench, Alan Langshaw, said the case was so serious it could only be dealt with by a crown court.

Mrs Darwin, who was arrested at Manchester Airport, recently moved to Panama after selling the couple's Teesside home.

She was taken to Hartlepool police station after her return to the UK, where she was questioned by detectives.

It had been thought that Mr Darwin, a former prison officer, had died at sea after the remains of his canoe were found on a beach in Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, Teesside, in March 2002.

But he turned up at a north London police station on 1 December, claiming he could not remember what had happened to him.

Police with John and Anne Darwin


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