The troubled love affairs of John Darwin, the wife of 23 years of age difference and the website for foreign brides


While Anne Darwin was devoted to her husband, John Darwin was a serial con man.

Anne collected then-husband’s £250,000 life insurance policy after he faked his own death in 2002 by pretending to be dead while sailing out to sea.

For years, the couple used their meager earnings to fly around the world to start a new life, eventually buying a £200,000 tropical property in a village. in Panama in May 2007.

But John sensationally returned to the UK claiming he suffered from amnesia following a change in visa laws, after which an incriminating photo of the couple appeared in a Panama estate agent.

During the trial in 2008, the picture of their happy marriage was destroyed when Anne revealed that her husband had cheated on her in the past.

But the 71-year-old was also trying to strike up a conversation with other women while he was pretending to be dead.

John and Anne Darwin were exposed by this photo



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Darwin admitted he had an affair soon after they were married and was caught with someone else when their son Anthony was 15 years old.

Anne said: “I’m angry, heartbroken. The last thing I want is to tear my family apart.” “We’ve agreed to make a fresh start where we’ll both put in more effort and try to make things work.

“I’m not sure if I can trust him again.”

During the trial, Anne told the jury that she had not had sex with anyone before their marriage and has not had a relationship with anyone else since.

But she confessed that she considered leaving John after he cheated on her.

“I considered leaving him, but I couldn’t see a life without him. I didn’t know how I would cope so I forgave him.”

After she forgave him, David Waters QC, defending, asked, “Do you still love him?”

She simply replied, “Yes.”

Eddie Marsan as John Darwin in the ITV drama



While in hiding, John spent time flirting with women online while playing video games and even denied the existence of his own sons, pretending he was a childless widow. .

He also lied to his wife by saying that he was looking to start a new life for them in the US and that an online friend, Maria, had offered to let him stay in New York if he were to visit.

Darwin flew out and spent two weeks with her, as revealed in the new book, The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe, by former Mirror journalist David Leigh.

According to David, Darwin found it all “quite interesting” and claimed Maria was keen to marry him, having forgotten to mention that he already had a wife. What he achieved was anyone’s guess.

During his time there, Darwin regularly communicated with another online friend, Kelly Steel, a 41-year-old “lonely and bored” mother of three from Kansas, with whom he chatted for the first time in 2003 while playing the fantasy game EverQuest.

Using the alias John Jones, Darwin said he was a former teacher and correctional officer, also claiming that his wife had died and that he had never had children.

In May 2004, without telling Anne, Darwin withdrew £30,000 of premium bonds and transferred to Kelly $50,000 from his John Jones bank account to open an equestrian center and they could split the profits. profit.

David said: “For a man who is always meticulous in his work, to hand over such a large sum of money to a woman he barely knows and has never met is defiance of conviction. “Perhaps he wasn’t thinking with his brain.”

John has tried it with several women


Evening Gazette)

The alarm only went off when he discovered the money had been transferred to a joint account held by Kelly and her ex-husband.

But he didn’t allow doubtful reality to cloud his dreams and spoke to Kelly with a headset so Anne wouldn’t hear but she heard him chuckle like a pathetic schoolboy.

When he finally told Anne about the investment, she was furious and suspicious but became overly concerned.

John received his own nasty surprise when he flew to Kansas and discovered Kelly looked very different in the flesh – and the disappointment was mutual.

Kelly later revealed: “He’s a weird kind of man, he immediately pulls me out and makes me uncomfortable around him.” “He was the scariest, weirdest, and scariest man I have ever met.

“While we were there, he started asking me about the widows or single women in town, and if I could help him find a new wife, because that would help him get visa and stay in the US.”

John demanded his money back but he was forced to write off £30,000 of his ill-gotten gains, while Anne recalled: “Part of me wished he’d just gone, gone missing.”

MONICA DOLAN as Anne Darwin and EDDIE MARSAN as John Darwin



John was sentenced to six years and three months in prison for admitting fraud by faking her own death, while Anne received six and a half years behind bars for fraud.

Their last communication was in prison as John tried to mend their relationship, but Anne finally mustered the courage to end things.

It is understood that John’s letters to close friend Lorraine Forbes, 43, begging her for sex, were the last straw for Anne.

But he didn’t catch the good news and reportedly sent Anne a picture of her with a copyright mark on it, seemingly implying that she was his property.

When Anne refused to get back together with John, he was actually the one who divorced her on the grounds of ‘behaving inappropriately’.

He was released in 2011 after serving half of his sentence, while Anne was released from prison two months later.

Two years after his release, John broke the terms of his parole to meet a young Ukrainian woman he had met on a foreign brides website for women looking for a rich husband. yes.

He told her that hundreds of women wanted to meet him and he received 240 texts from admirers in one day, but she never wanted to see him again after the first date. .

John Darwin and his new wife Mercy May Darwin


Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

John helps sell clothes at his wife’s stall


Jamie Wiseman / ANL / REX / Shutterstock)

In 2015, John married Mercidita, aka Mercy, 23 years younger than him in her hometown of the Philippines.

She wrote a message to friends on Facebook shortly after the wedding to announce that she was “in love” with a retiree.

Mercy, who has three children from a previous relationship who now lives with a cousin, said: “I love you so much, your baby is always mine. Loving is easy, but loving is very special. bye.”

Now living with her and living off her money and his UK state pension of around £134 a week, John helps buy a market trader’s wife’s underwear and t-shirts £4.35. once in a giant indoor market.

In 2016, it was reported that John was forced to spend most of his time in the cramped room he called home because of his allergies.

“It’s dust and dirt – he’s allergic to it,” his then-owner Daisy Lavapiez told the Sunday Mirror.

“He’s almost always upstairs in his room because of the air quality here, unless he’s helping Mercy at the market. Sometimes I feel sorry for him because he doesn’t have many friends. “

* The Thief, His Wife and the C Anoe airs on ITV at 9pm from Easter Sunday to Wednesday April 20

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