Back-from-the-dead Cleveland canoeist released from jail

18 January 2011, 09:34 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Cleveland back-from-the-dead canoeist, John Darwin, has walked free from prison after serving half of his six year, three month sentence.

He admitted faking his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 to allow his wife Anne to make fraudulent insurance and pension claims.

He'll be subject to probation supervision and will have to adhere to strict conditions.

The couple had a 12-home property portfolio and were struggling to make mortgage repayments when he paddled into the sea in his home-made canoe and disappeared.

His wife reported him missing to Durham police and a huge search began.

In 2007 Anne Darwin settled her affairs in the UK, having sold off the family's property portfolio, and emigrated to Panama, where she joined her husband in secret.

They bought a flat and land in the Panama countryside which they hoped to transform into a canoeing centre focusing on eco-tourism.

Darwin then flew back to the UK and handed himself in to a central London police station, claiming he suffered amnesia and could remember nothing since 2000.

His wife, still in Panama, was tracked down by a journalist and pretended to be shocked at the back-from-the-dead miracle.

But her story collapsed when a photograph was found on the internet showing the smiling couple posing in a Panama estate agents.