Fake accident – level 3

25-04-2022 07:00

Over 20 years ago, a seemingly ordinary British couple faked a canoeing accident, and they defrauded hundreds of thousands of pounds from a life insurance policy.

John Darwin ran a business renting bed-sits across Durham County until 2000, when he ran into debt and he nearly went bankrupt. Two years later, he went missing while canoeing off Cleveland; however, rescuers were puzzled, as the sea was unusually calm.

Darwin’s wife received the death certificate, and she received 250,000 pounds in life insurance. For five years, she lied to the couple’s two sons, while Darwin secretly lived in a bed-sit next door.

The couple eventually decided to start a new life in Panama City; however, in 2007, Darwin walked into a London police station, and he claimed he had no memory of the past five years. Police already suspected that the man might be alive and using a false identity.

The couple were both jailed for six years for the fraud, and their story became the subject of a TV drama called ‘The thief, his wife and the canoe’.

Difficult words: defraud (to illegally get money by saying or doing something dishonest), bed-sit (a one-room apartment), fraud (the crime of getting money by a trick or lying).

You can watch the video news lower on this page.

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