Disgusted Holly Willoughby BLASTS notorious canoe widow

Viewers were incensed as she blamed her husband for the fraud

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This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield faced down one of the most notorious fraudsters of recent years as viewers slammed Anne Darwin for her irresponsible attitude.

In her first TV interview, the former wife of John Darwin, who faked his own death in a canoe accident to claim over £50,000 in life insurance, laid the blame firmly at his door.

Anne claimed that it was her husband’s need to appear “well off” that had landed them deep in debt as he chased his dream.

Speaking on the ITV daytime show, Anne said: “It was a nightmare to be going through and living through I couldn’t see anyway out of it.

“I pleaded with him to declare bankruptcy.”

Anne also revealed that she contemplated suicide as the debts mounted and there seemed no way out of it.

John’s plan was to fake his death and claim the life insurance and Anne claims that she just went along with it, as she wasn’t confident enough to say no to her husband.

She claimed that she didn’t realise how far he would go with the fraudulent scheme and revealed how she had to tell their kids that he had ‘died’.

She said: “I had no idea that anything of that scale or magnitude would happen.

“I didn’t realise it would go on for days or even weeks before that search would end.”

Phillip and Holly were stunned with Anne’s revelations.

Phillip countered: “You must have been a hell of an actress to pull that off?”

Anne admitted that it was hard telling her kids the news, especially as she was lying the whole time: “The emotions were genuine emotions but for different reasons, I was in absolute bits.”

The downfall of the fraudulent couple began when a photo was discovered of them in Panama.

Anne said that it was a spur of the moment thing and wished it had never been taken.

She said: “I wish that had never been taken, it was done in an instant.”

Holly hit back: “When you say you wish the picture had never been taken? Do you wish you’d never been caught?”

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On the defensive, Anne said: “No, I knew it would all come out eventually. Going to Panama… it wasn’t to escape it it was just another section of John’s plan, John’s scheme.”

Speaking about John’s alleged memory loss, Anne revealed that she was pleased when it had all come to an end.

She said: “He was convinced that he would get away with the sort of amnesia, I never thought he would get away with it.

“I was just glad all the lies would come to an end.

“I am dreadfully ashamed of that, I should never have done it I didn’t have the confidence to stand up against John.”

She was shocked that she ended up with a longer jail sentence though. Anne was sentenced to six years and six months for her fraud, while her husband was given three months less.

“I was given no indication that the sentence would be that long. It came as a shock,” Anne admitted.

“Yes, I committed the crime and I deserved to be punished. I wasn’t prepared for that at all.”

Anne has now released a book, Out of My Depth, to tell the inside story of what happened.

With her not able to benefit from the sales, she said that all proceeds would be going to RSPCA and RNLI.

Viewers at home took to Twitter to slam Anne and her attitude.

Anne revealed: “I have no feelings at all for John, I don’t bare a grudge I don’t hold any bitterness towards him.

“He is leading his own life and free to do whatever he wants.”

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She continued: “I am extremely lucky to have that when I was in prison I felt like I had lost them forever and that led me into a deep depression.

“Fortunately I came through that and managed to turn my life around with my time in prison.

“I am quite happy with my life where I am not.

“I felt I needed to do this in order to put that chapter behind me in my life.”