Canoeist ‘has no memories since 2000’

A CANOEIST who turned up after being missing for five years cannot remember anything since June 2000, his sons said yesterday.

John Darwin, 57, disappeared after paddling out to sea off the coast near Hartlepool in March 2000, before he appeared at a London police station on Saturday to declare: “I think I’m a missing person.”

Sons Anthony and Mark said they were delighted to see him again but added that their father cannot remember anything since June 2000.

The sons said their mother Anne shared their delight at the news.

She is believed to be living in Panama after she sold the couple’s seven-bedroom seafront house in Seaton Carew.

In a statement issued through Cleveland Police, Anthony and Mark said: “The news of John’s appearance came as a huge shock to the whole family.

“We are extremely happy that he is alive and we are looking forward to spending time with him.

“Anne has been informed of the good news and is delighted to hear it.

“We have spoken with John and he appears to be in good health, however he currently has no memory of events since June 2000.

“We appreciate that there is huge media interest in this story, however due to John’s memory loss there is little more we can add.

“Since Saturday evening we have been through a traumatic and emotional time and this continues to be a stressful time for John and the family.

“We hope the media will give us privacy so we can come to terms with this news.”

Earlier, Mr Darwin’s aunt Margaret Burns, from Blackhall Colliery, Co Durham, said: “We don’t know the truth of the story, but I think we will if we wait a bit.”

She said relatives around the world had been in contact. “This story has gone worldwide. But what’s the point in speculating, when we don’t know. I’m 80 and life has been extremely funny — if you don’t laugh about it you will lose your sanity.

“I’m pleased I have lived to be 80 — I like to know how a story ends.

“I’m as intrigued as anybody about what happens next.”

She believed the last time she saw Mr Darwin was at his mother’s funeral in 2001. She did not know his wife Anne.

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