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'Canoe Man' John Darwin appeals fraud sentence

  • Story Highlights
  • John Darwin reappeared in 2007 -- 5 years after he was thought to have drowned
  • He and his wife Anne faked his death to commit pension, insurance fraud
  • He eventually admitted guilt, his wife claimed she was coerced by her husband
  • Both sentenced earlier this year; Darwin, like his wife, has has now appealed
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(CNN) -- The man who faked his drowning death in a $500,000 fraud has appealed against his sentence, UK news agencies have reported.

John Darwin, 58, who was jailed for six years and three months at Teesside Crown Court, northern England in July, has asked leave to the Court of Appeal to challenge his sentence, the UK's Press Association reported his lawyer John Nixon as saying.

Darwin was jailed after he admitted faking his death in a canoe accident in 2002 so that his wife Anne could make false pension and insurance claims.

Anne Darwin, 56, received six-and-a-half years after she was found guilty of six counts of fraud and nine counts of money laundering.

Anne Darwin, who has already appealed against her sentence, claimed at her trial that her husband forced her to go through with the plan in order to con insurance and pension companies by faking his death at sea in a canoeing accident.

John Darwin, a former prison officer and teacher, shocked police when he appeared at a police station in central London in late 2007 -- five years after he was thought to have drowned off the coast of north-east England.

A coroner declared John Darwin dead in 2003, 13 months after his disappearance. Video Watch more on the case »

At the trial the prosecution said that the couple conspired to commit the fraud through "shame and embarrassment" at possible bankruptcy over mortgage repayments on a dozen properties.

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The court heard how Anne Darwin put forward an initial defense of "marital coercion," claiming her husband forced her to go along with his plan.

However jury heard that when Darwin walked into a police station last December, claiming to be suffering from amnesia, his wife was living in Panama with assets of almost $1 million.

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