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Canoe Widow Anne Darwin horrified at being mistaken for 'serial killer' Rose West

Anne Darwin Canoe Widow Rose West
Anne Darwin (left) and her prison lookalike Rose West (right)

Some say women of a certain age become “invisible”, well ‘Canoe Widow’ Anne Darwin might argue that’s better than being mistaken for Rose West, the frumpy part-time prostitute who abused and murdered her own kids alongside pervert husband Fred.

Anne was jailed for her involvement in her husband John’s life insurance scam, pretending he had drowned after falling off a canoe. In reality, she was helping him live secretly in their home and in a bedsit next door, lying to police and even to their two sons!

However, the Darwin's life insurance scam collapsed after they were pictured beaming alongside an estate agent while house hunting in Panama, five years after John was declared missing presumed dead.

Their fascinating story is now an ITV drama, The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe, but there is unlikely to be a mention of one of the most bizarre aspects of the case - Anne being frequently mistaken for infamous murderess Rose West.

This article originally appeared in our 24-page zine SINISTER WOMEN, which is available to buy from our Etsy store for just £5

But despite the scammers making headlines across the word in 2007, when she arrived at Low Newton jail to serve a 6 year sentence for fraud, people thought she was the Grande Damme of British crime - Rose West.

Writing in her 2016 autobiography Out Of My Depth, she said: “I went to the chapel whenever there was a Catholic mass. Occasionally, Rose would turn up with her officer in tow. It was rather a strange sight and always turned heads, but no one ever said anything. At meal times, she would usually sit alone.

“On a couple of occasions I was even mistaken for her, despite the fact that we looked nothing alike - other than we both wore glasses. Two new women arrived on the wing and when they first saw me, one of them asked if I was Rose West. I’d never imagined I’d be mistaken for a serial killer."

She added: "Rose West was creepy, she had such dark eyes."

More Rose West on Sinister Isles


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