'Missing' canoeist's wife arrested


The wife of a man who "returned from the dead" after apparently being lost at sea in a canoeing accident five years ago has been arrested on her return to Britain, police said today.

Anne Darwin (55), was arrested by Greater Manchester Police on suspicion of fraud after arriving at Manchester Airport on a flight from Atlanta.

In 2002, Anne Darwin reported her 57-year-old husband John missing, saying she feared he had suffered an accident while canoeing in the North Sea near their home in Hartlepool, northeast England.

A few weeks later the shattered remains of his red kayak were discovered. In 2003, following a police inquiry, a coroner declared him dead.

"She has arrested on suspicion of fraud allegations at the request of Cleveland Police," a Manchester Police spokesman told Reuter.  She was due to be questioned by Cleveland Police in northeastern England later today.

Yesterday,  she told British newspapers she had hidden her husband at the family home during the missing years after he "disappeared".  She described how her husband had avoided discovery by using a small passage to an apartment in an adjoining house owned by the couple.

He was charged by police yesterday  with obtaining money by deception and making a false declaration to get a passport. He is due to appear at Hartlepool Magistrates Court tomorrow.

His wife's return to Britain comes after a week of revelations that began with Mr Darwin walking into a London police station claiming amnesia.  Newspaper reports said Mr Darwin's life insurance and work benefits had been paid to his wife.