Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Sunday, 27 July 2008 11:34 UK

Canoeist sons 'put through hell'

Mark Darwin (left) and Anthony Darwin
The sons were "the real victims", the judge said

The sons of back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin and his wife Anne say the couple deserve their jail sentences.

In newspaper interviews the week after their parents were both jailed for more than six years, Anthony and Mark Darwin said they had been "put through hell".

Despite a letter from Anne Darwin, in which she writes of her regret for causing "pain and anguish", the brothers say they cannot forgive her.

Anthony told the Mail on Sunday he felt as if his whole life had been "a lie".

The 29-year-old said: "They have tarnished all the good times that came before. I can't ever forgive them for putting us through the torture of mourning.

"They were in it together and they deserve the sentences handed down by the judge. They're as bad as each other.

"Dad told one nasty lie and disappeared and said he was dead but she lied for six years, she was the face of the lies and she kept lying even when the evidence was so overwhelmingly against her.

"She dragged us through hell by forcing a court case."

Anne and John Darwin
In a letter, Anne Darwin apologised for causing 'pain and anguish'

Mark, 32, added: "I have been had completely and I feel bitter about it. It will take a lot of time to come to terms with what they have done. At the moment I want nothing to do with them."

John Darwin, 57, was jailed for six years and three months after admitting deception by faking his own death in a canoe accident in the North Sea off Teesside in 2002.

Anne Darwin, 56, was given six-and-a-half years for her part in the fraud, which saw the couple claim more than 250,000 in insurance and pension funds.

The couple conned their sons, friends, police and the insurance companies into believing Mr Darwin had drowned.

Sentencing the pair last week, the judge at Teesside Crown Court said Anthony and Mark had been the "real victims".

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