With cases of insurance fraud on the rise, it seems that the threat of prison alone is not a sufficient deterrent for the perpetrators – however, maybe the idea of being mistaken for a serial killer would be.
That is what happened to one of the most notorious insurance fraudsters of the last 20 years – as the wife of canoe conman John Darwin was mistaken for Rose West while the pair were locked up in the same prison.
Anne Darwin, 64, and her now ex-husband John Darwin, were jailed after they collaborated in faking John’s death in a supposed kayaking accident back in 2002.
Now, Anne has released a new book entitled Out of My Depth
, being chronicled in The Mirror
, in which she reveals how she was regularly mistaken for her fellow inmate.
“I went to the chapel whenever there was a Catholic mass,” she wrote. “Occasionally, Rose would turn up with her officer in tow.
“On a couple of occasions, I was even mistaken for her, despite the fact we looked nothing alike, other than we both wore glasses.
“Two new women had arrived on the wing and when they first saw me, one of them asked if I was Rose West. I’d never imagined I’d be mistaken for a serial killer.”
In another part of the book, Anne reveals her guilt as she told her crying sons about the supposed death of John – stating she contemplated suicide and thought her sons would never talk to her again when the fraud was unearthed. They staged the accident to make a life insurance claim while John hid in a bedsit the family owned before heading to Panama. The Hartlepool native let her sons believe their father was dead as she cleared a £700,000 debt using mortgage, insurance and pension payouts.
Their luck ran out in 2006 when they were pictured together in an estate agent’s in Panama. John returned to the UK in 2007, walking into a police station and claiming he had suffered memory loss. Anne received six years and six months in prison, while John received three months less.
During her time in prison, Anne also spent time with another notorious killer – Tracie Andrews, who murdered fiancé Lee Harvey in a famous road rage killing and served 14 years in prison before being released in 2012.
Anne however, described her as a “gentle person” whereas Rose West “was creepy, she had such dark eyes.”