Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Wednesday, 23 July 2008 20:25 UK

The Darwins reunite in court

By Annette Bartholomew
BBC News

Photo of John and Anne Darwin published on the Move to Panama website
This picture of the couple, taken in 2006, appeared on the internet
After Anne Darwin was found guilty for her part in an insurance fraud over her husband John's faked death she was briefly reunited with her partner in the dock.

Courtroom 11 at Teesside Crown Court has been constantly packed full of journalists and public alike during the Anne Darwin trial.

On a daily basis dozens of people have been turned away due to the lack of space.

But the moment everyone was eagerly waiting for was the reunion of this unscrupulous couple who betrayed both their family and friends over John Darwin's fake disappearance on 21 March 2002.

And once 56-year-old Anne Darwin was found guilty by the jury that reunion was turned into reality when they were sentenced together.

At 1400 BST precisely the packed courtroom quickly silenced as John Darwin was let into the dock by a big burly security guard.

He was clean-shaven and dressed smartly in a black leather jacket with crisp white shirt, black trousers and a blue tie.

Next entered his wife Anne who was wearing a smart cream jacket and black trousers.

At this moment eldest son Mark Darwin briefly stared over to his parents in the dock.

Not once did Mrs Darwin look over to the public gallery to see her sons or acknowledge her husband's close presence.

She coldly stared ahead ignoring all of her family - her face remained emotionless throughout the whole hearing.

No emotion

Soon the defence barrister for John Darwin spoke about his client's regrets over the whole fraud.

In particular he stressed how John wanted to apologise to his sons and also hoped for an eventual reconciliation with them.

The father-of-two just stared down to the ground while mitigating evidence was given on his behalf.

No tears, no words from his lips, just nothing.

Court sketches
Anne Darwin showed no emotion when sentence was passed

Youngest son Anthony never once looked at his parents - instead he listened intently to what both defence barristers had to say about his mother and father.

Both brothers sat in a dignified manner as the whole courtroom heard how the idea came from their father and the reasons why John eventually came back in December 2007.

He said it was to see them again and to pay the money back.

Only once did Anne Darwin change from staring ahead and that was briefly to look down to the ground when a character statement was read on her behalf.

Eventually both defendants were asked to get on their feet when the judge was about to pass his sentence.

Again the whole courtroom tried to look at the defendants while keeping an eye on any reaction from the Darwin sons.

Even though John Darwin was now standing up his gaze didn't move from the floor - it was as if he wanted it to swallow him up.

Anne coolly stared ahead - again not a flicker of emotion on her face when the sentence was passed.

Although the couple were re-united in the dock - and as a family in the whole courtroom there was not a word or gesture between any of them.

One after the other Anne and John Darwin were taken away to prison.

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