Canoe conman John Darwin who faked his own death bankrolled by wife 23 years his junior

A MAN who faked his own death in a canoe accident is now bankrolled by his much younger wife, it has been revealed.

John Darwin, 70, vanished in March 2002 making it look like he had been lost at sea while out canoeing off the coast of Durham in a £679,000 insurance scam.

He has now settled in the Philippines with his new wife Mercy May, 47. The couple married in 2015 after striking up a romance online.

The ex-teacher receives a UK state pension of around £134 per week, while his wife – a mum-of-three – sub-lets a clothing stall in a market in Manila and runs a retail store, the Mirror reported.

"I have a new business. I've had it for three years now. Boom. Making money," Mercy May said.

The couple recently moved out of Manila and into a new home 30 minutes away.

Darwin's ex-wife Anne was jailed for helping hubby John fake his death in the scam.

Anne fled to Panama with John after he vanished near Seaton Carew, Durham, in 2002.


John had planned a new life for the couple in Panama, using £250,000 in insurance and pension pay outs.

He then spent several years hiding in a house adjoining his home in Seaton Carew as Anne acted the role of a widow.

The couple allowed their sons Mark, 45, and Anthony, 42, to believe their dad was dead.

Darwin then suddenly reappeared at a London police station in 2008, claiming he had lost his memory.

They were later caught, with John and Anne being jailed for more than six years each.

The couple used to live in a six-bedroom seafront pad and owned 12 properties.

They came up with the scam after struggling to make mortgage payments. 

Darwin was released from jail in 2011 but broke his parole two years later travelling to Ukraine to meet Anna Avramenko, 25, who he had met on a website for foreign brides.

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