John Darwin’s father’s expressive response was when he was told his son was alive – and dug up her “wet feet”

John Darwin faked his death by pretending he drowned when he got out of his boat, but his father

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Anne Darwin blames ex-husband John for fraud scheme in 2016

When John Darwin walked into a police station claiming to be suffering from amnesia after he faked his death, officers called his distraught family to tell them the incredible news.

Sons Mark and Anthony rushed to London Police Station in December 2007 to meet their beloved father.

But their grandfather Ronnie, John’s father, had a more definitive answer when reporters arrived at his home in Blackhall Colley, six miles north of Hartlepool, in County Durham, after word broke.

It is believed that the couple had a difficult relationship before John’s disappearance, although the cause is not known, which may explain his less enthusiastic comments to the media.

In his book The Thief, His Wife, and the Boat, Mirror journalist David Lee, who was sent to Panama to speak with Anne, reveals the reaction of 90-year-old Ronnie.

Darwin family


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He writes that he said: “I have always told the police that there may be more to it than it appears at first.

“When his boat was found but it wasn’t, it wasn’t quite right.

“He had ideas above his position. He had big dreams and ambitions, and I sometimes think he was in a rush to make money.”

And it wasn’t just Rooney who had some strong opinions, with the book claiming John’s aunt Margaret Burns added: “Most members of the family think the trauma of almost drowning was enough to cause him to lose his memory, but I’m not very sure.

The family’s story is told in a new show on ITV called The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe



“I’m sarcastic. To be honest, I don’t think he ever got his feet wet.”

In the book, David Leigh also reveals the first words John said to his son when they were reunited at the police station.

Five and a half years after they were last together, he continued his lies that he had amnesia.

Mark said: “Oh my God, my father!” John replied, “I can’t find your mother and your dogs anywhere.”

John and Ann’s story is told in a new show on ITV, named after David’s book.

Anthony and Mark Darwin are still working on their relationship with their mom

The couple lied to their family, friends, and even their children about John’s death for five and a half years.

He secretly lived next door to the family home, sneaked back into the main house for meals, and even shared a bed with Anne.

She raised her £250,000 life insurance policy to help pay off her huge debt.

The couple, who have since separated, used some of the money to try and start a new life in Panama, buying a £200,000 tropical property.

However, they were caught after a photo was taken in a real estate agent’s office, with the shocking story broken by The Mirror.

Darwin’s two sons, Mark and Anthony, were the biggest victims of the incredible scam, spending five years needlessly mourning their father.

Sons had to testify against their parents in court


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Anne explained to the Guardian: “After the fact that we were living in Panama together came out, I constantly wrote to Mark and Anthony to say, ‘I’m so sorry. I really love you.”

“But they refused to see me or talk to me. The first time I looked at them [afterwards] It was at my trial when Mark was the first to testify against me. After he left the witness box, he raised his eyes in passing to meet mine. I was completely shocked at how dark they were and filled with anger. Seeing that was absolutely awful.”

Mark decides to visit his mother in Newton’s Low Prison right after her trial, but their first encounter was brief, harsh, and solemn.

However, they began building bridges during subsequent visits and when Anne was released from prison in March 2011 having served half her sentence – two months after John left prison.

In 2018, Mark announced that he had finally forgiven his mother, but he would definitely not trust his parents with regards to financial matters.

Mark said, “I’ve forgiven her, to some extent, but I’ll never understand her. And I don’t forget. I’m over, in a sense, the urgency to find out why. Why would she do this to us? Nothing can describe the tooth-kick I felt when I found out it was her.” working on everything

Mark, who lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Flick and their two sons, said he couldn’t do to his children what his mother had done to him, but invited her on a family holiday to Spain.

He had been in touch with his father and when asked if he could forgive him, he simply replied, “Maybe.”

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