‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin ‘on his way’ to fight in Ukraine according to his wife

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As as a new ITV drama based on the life of 71-year-old fraudster ‘Canoe Man’ John Darwin hits our screens, Mercy Mae Avila Darwin, 48, said his presence in Ukraine would be ‘dangerous for the Russian when he shoot them ‘

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Teaser trailer for ITV’s The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe

Here’s a development that will have Vladimir Putin quaking… Canoe Man John Darwin is off to fight in Ukraine against Russia.

According to the 71-year-old fraudster’s much younger second wife, he is “on his way” to take up arms and do battle with the dictator’s forces.

It comes as a new ITV drama based on his life and crimes about to hit our screens.

In a series of bizarre messages, his second wife Mercy Mae Avila Darwin, 48, claimed John, who faked his own death at sea in 2002, would fight the Russians in Ukraine.

When asked about the danger, she added: “Yes, dangerous for the Russian when he shoot them (sic).

“He will have a bullet proof vest and good life insurance, good for me.”

Good idea by Canoe Man? Have your say in the comment section







The Mirror’s world exclusive on the couple
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Mum-of-three Mercy has lived in the Philippines with Darwin since meeting online. They wed in 2015.

Ex-prison officer Darwin, 71, famously faked his own death off the North Sea coast in 2002 to trigger a huge insurance scam.

With the help of first wife Anne, he pretended to be ‘dead’ for five years – moving to Panama after living in a room hidden behind a wardrobe at the family home in Seaton Carew, Co Durham – before he walked into a London police station in 2007.

Both he and Anne were jailed for more than six years for fraud in 2008. He broke the terms of his parole in 2013 to see a young Ukrainian woman on a date. He met Anna Avramenko, then 25, through a foreign brides website for women seeking a rich husband.







Monica Dolan as Anne Darwin and Eddie Marsan as John Darwin in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe
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He told her that hundreds of women wanted to meet him, and that he received 240 messages from admirers in one day. But she never wanted to see him again after their first date.

The crook walked into a London police station in 2007, claiming he had suffered a bad dose of amnesia.

The astonishing story about the deception and the couple’s secret new life in Panama will be told in a four-part primetime ITV dramatization called The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe starring Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan as the Darwins.

It was inspired by a book by former Mirror journalist David Leigh, who tracked down Anne in Panama.






Ukrainian Anna met conman for one date






Darwin and second wife Mercy Mae
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Rowan Griffiths / Daily Mirror)

Mum-of-three Mercy has lived in the Philippines with Darwin since meeting online, then marrying him in 2015. Anne and John Darwin separated while both still serving time for the fraud.

They divorced after 38 years of marriage. John came back from the dead nearly six years after vanishing, claiming a bad dose of amnesia.

While former doctor’s receptionist Anne, 69, has rebuilt her relationship with Mark and Anthony, the two sons she so cruelly deceived about his faked death at sea, John has been disowned by one of his boys.

The astonishing story about the deception and how the couple secretly started a new life in Panama will be told in a four-part prime-time ITV dramatisation starring Eddie Marsan and Monica Dolan as John and Anne Darwin.

‘The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe’ was inspired by a book by ex-Mirror journalist David Leigh, who tracked down Anne Darwin in Panama, where the couple had started a secret new life with the proceeds of their fraudulent insurance claims.

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