The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe: How John Darwin’s lies were nearly discovered by his son

22 April 2022, 08:10

John Darwin's sons almost discovered that he had been lying before he returned to England.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

ITV drama The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe has gripped viewers this week.

The four part series tells the story of 'Canoe Man' John Darwin who faked his own death in a bid to claim on his life insurance.

His wife Anne was then left to convince the police, coroners and even her sons that her husband had died in a canoe accident.

But there was one moment in the drama that wasn’t shown, with Anthony almost uncovering his parent’s lies.

John Darwin's sons almost discovered his lies
John Darwin's sons almost discovered his lies. Picture: Alamy

In her 2016 memoir, Anne recalled that when she told her sons she was emigrating to Panama, they wanted to collect some of their dad's possessions to keep.

Anthony chose a book that had been printed in 2003, which was the year after his father had supposedly died.

Anne added that her son never noticed at the time, and only realised later on.

Anthony and Mark were seen mourning their dad in The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe
Anthony and Mark were seen mourning their dad in The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe. Picture: ITV

The moment Mark and Anthony went to look through their father’s things was seen in The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe.

Anne - played by Monica Dolan, is seen telling her sons: “Take whatever you want, or take nothing at all if it doesn't feel right. It is entirely up to you.”

With the camera turning to the table, viewers see three books, a tape recorder, a watch and Darwin's original passport.

This comes after it was revealed that the real Anne Darwin ‘isn’t enjoying’ her story being told again.

John Darwin's possessions were featured on The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe
John Darwin's possessions were featured on The Thief, His Wife and The Canoe. Picture: ITV

Journalist David Leigh appeared on This Morning, where he told Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield how Anne had responded to the drama.

He explained that Anne often says she “doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about” and often asks why there is still so much interest.

“She obviously wishes this wasn’t happening but accepts she played a role in it and understands, to a degree, the fascination from the public,” he said.

“This story has been running now for 15 years and on it goes, so I think she’ll be happy when it’s over and she can get on with her life and spend time with the boys.”