Runaway canoeist John Darwin is cast in an unlikely new role – as an assistant in his second wife’s attempt to become a social media influencer.
The notorious fraudster, who faked his own death to cash in on his life insurance policy, has made a number of appearances on Mercy Darwin’s social media pages.
His new wife describes herself as a ‘digital creator’ in her profile and the videos in which she increasingly uses Darwin as a co-star are getting dozens of likes.
A vlog shows jeans-clad Mercy, 49, serenading father-of-two John, 72, and dancing around him in what appears to be the living room of their home in the Philippines.
Dressed in tiny shorts and a white t-shirt – and with a bandage over his ear – John looks dazed as his wife sings to him and rubs his chest.
Runaway canoe man John Darwin is cast in an unlikely new role – as an assistant in his second wife’s bid to become a social media influencer
When father-of-two John Darwin (pictured left in Panama with his wife Anne in 2006) went missing in his canoe in the sea outside his County Durham home in 2002, his own sons thought he was dead. Right: What Darwin looked like after he faked his death
Another video shows the couple with a hot water bottle between their heads laughing and smiling as a happy tune plays in the background. The videos are John’s first to appear since his story was dramatized in the critically acclaimed ITV series ‘The Thief, His Wife And The Canoe’ last year.
Actor Eddie Marsan played the fraudster while actress Monica Dolan starred as his ex-wife Anne Darwin in the four-part drama.
A source said: ‘Obviously they still want attention despite everything that’s happened.
“John’s two sons, who have suffered so much already, will cringe when they see these videos.”
John originally made headlines in December 2007 when he showed up at London’s West End Central police station claiming to be suffering from amnesia.
Suspicions arose when he was found to be £700,000 in debt when he went missing five years earlier.
And a realtor’s photo later proved that John and his wife Anne had been secretly living in Panama in Central America since 2006.
They had bought a £200,000 house in the tropical country in 2007 with the money from John’s life insurance policy.
His new wife describes herself as a ‘digital creator’ in her profile and the videos in which she increasingly uses Darwin as a co-star are getting dozens of likes
Another video shows the couple with a hot water bottle between their heads laughing and smiling as a happy tune plays in the background
Actor Eddie Marsan played the fraudster while actress Monica Dolan starred as his ex-wife Anne Darwin in the four-part ITV drama ‘The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe’ last year
But the couple hit a bump when it turned out that he had to pass strict identity checks to get a visa in Panama.
When he returned to England, the scam began to unravel. Police discovered that John faked his own death by paddling out into the North Sea in his canoe and then disappearing.
He was reported missing when he failed to show up for his prison job and – as his body was never found but the wreckage of his canoe did turn up – he was presumed dead.
The truth was that John had been hiding for years in a rented property next to the family home in Seaton Carew, County Durham.
Heartless, Anne told their two adult sons Mark and Anthony that he was dead, a cruel lie they apparently never forgave him for.
After the truth came out, John was arrested for obtaining life insurance money by cheating and making untrue statements.
Anne returned from Panama and was accused of fraud. Both were convicted of fraud on July 23, 2008. John got six years and three months, Anne got six years and six months.
John was released in January 2011 (pictured in 2014) and got into an online romance with Mercy in 2015
John was released in January 2011 and Anne two months later and they eventually divorced with John citing ‘unreasonable behaviour’.
He started an online romance with Mercy in 2015 and they now live together in the Philippines where she is reportedly subletting a residence and clothing stall.
Anne wrote a book called ‘Out Of My Depth’ about what happened and has always maintained that her ex was the so-called mastermind behind the fraud.
Speaking in 2016, she explained, “John can be persuasive too. He told me, “I just have to disappear for a few weeks and we’ll have the money.” It got out of hand.
“The deeper you get into these situations, the harder it is to get out. If I had any inkling that it would have lasted more than a few weeks, I couldn’t possibly have gone along with it and tortured myself for years.
“But once it was done and he got me to lie about his disappearance, I couldn’t get out of it.”