John and Anne Darwin were within touching distance of each other yesterday, but as they stood in the dock they did not even exchange a glance.
Nor did their sons, sitting in the public gallery of Court 11 at Teesside Crown Court, try to look at their parents as they were sentenced for a £250,000 insurance fraud that “crushed their lives”.
Mark, 32, and Anthony Darwin, 29, were “the real victims” of a “determined, sustained and sophisticated” scheme that began when their father faked his own death six years and four months ago, Mr Justice Wilkie said. The brothers’ ordeal has so far lasted almost exactly as long as the sentences handed down to Anne and John Darwin, who were jailed for 6½ years and six years, three months respectively.
Anne Darwin, 56, showed no emotion as she was found guilty of 15 counts of fraud and money laundering at the end of an eight-day trial. She later looked straight ahead as the judge said that, despite her efforts to put all the blame on her husband with her defence of marital coercion, he was convinced that she had played her part in the fraud “efficiently and wholeheartedly”.