Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Tuesday, 29 July 2008 12:31 UK

Family blasts 'Darwin tour' move

Photo of John and Anne Darwin published on the Move to Panama website
This Darwins were exposed by a photo of them in Panama

The aunt of canoe fraudster John Darwin has criticised a holiday firm over plans to take British tourists to places he visited in Central America.

The 57-year-old and his wife Anne, 56, were jailed after John Darwin faked his own death in a canoe accident in 2002. They planned a new life in Panama.

Journey Latin America's week-long tour takes in Panama City and Lake Gatun, where the pair planned a canoe school.

Margaret Burns, 80, from County Durham, described the tour plan as "mad".

London-based Journey Latin America said it saw an opportunity to use the Darwin case to "make people aware" that Panama was a wonderful place.

It plans to charge people upwards of 1,400 for the holiday.

Marketing executive Laura Forsyth said: "It has been reported in the media that the Darwins visited Panama City and Gatun Lake, where they hoped to make a home and start up a canoe business.

It's a pity people don't have anything better to do with their time
John Darwin's aunt Margaret Burns

"Panama City and Gatun Lake are very popular places to visit for tourists visiting Panama. Journey Latin America thought it would be a bit tongue-in-cheek to create an itinerary based on the places that the Darwins visited.

"After all, Panama is a beautiful country boasting tropical forests, palm fringed beaches and colonial towns. We saw an opportunity to make people aware that Panama is a wonderful place to visit."

But John Darwin's aunt Margaret Burns, from Blackhall near Peterlee, said: "I think the whole idea is mad.

"It will probably go down a bomb, but I don't know why some people are so stupid.

"Why would anyone want to see a grotty flat in Panama City and some undeveloped jungle in the middle of nowhere. It's sad.

"It's a pity people don't have anything better to do with their time."

The Darwins, from Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, claimed 250,000 in insurance and pension payouts after John Darwin faked his death.

The fraud was exposed after a 2006 photo of them with an estate agent in Panama City appeared on the internet.


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