I’m not sure how widely the case of John and Anne Darwin has been reported outside the UK, but I think it veers between farce and tragedy.
Six years ago, the Darwins were facing bankruptcy so in stupid idea number 1 they somehow decided that John should fake his death in a canoeing accident whilst his wife Anne claimed a total of about £250,000 on various insurance policies.
The next stupid idea to come to light was John walking in to a police station last December claiming to be suffering from amnesia. His wife, of course, said how delighted and relieved she was that he had reappeared. The story appeared in all the major newspapers and tv news shows.
The nail in the coffin of this harebrained scheme was the other stupid idea. The Darwins had been planning to move to Panama on the proceeds, whilst they were looking at an apartment in 2006, they posed together for a photograph. Which of course quickly made it’s way into the public eye. Both the husband and wife received have just received prison sentences for the scam.
That’s pretty much all the farce – the tragedy is that the couple had two grown up sons who were not in on the scam. They had spent nearly six years grieving their dead father, who turned out not so much dead as to have simply been lying, as had their mother.
Of course, it’s all completely ridiculous, fraud is not a good way of avoiding bankruptcy. In fact bankruptcy isn’t that bad, plenty of people do it and come out the other side perfectly well. If you have vast mounting debts, you can get proper advice from the following charities: Consumer Credit Counselling Service, National Debtline and the CAB – and plenty of support on the Money Saving Expert forums (try the debt-free wannabe, and bankruptcy and living with it boards).
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