Thursday, 6 December 2007


With the return of John Darwin from apparent death in a canoe some 5 years ago (Click Here) followed by the publication of an alleged picture of him in Panama with his wife last year, our newspapers have been quick to allude to statistics for runaways. The Charity, Missing People, estimates that some 210,000 people are reported missing in the UK every year and whilst the greatest number are teenage runaways, one third are adults of whom the majority are men. Moreover it seems that relationship breakdown is one of the main reasons for their disappearance. Before anyone begins to think that this could be a cheaper and easier option than divorce, and in the interests of keeping my profession in business, I think it only fair to point out the disadvantages:

  1. You leave behind a grieving family with which any relationship in the future is going to be difficult;

  2. You remain married and remarriage is potentially bigamous unless you are sure that your spouse has divorced you in the interim; bigamy is a criminal offence;

  3. You will need to leave behind you all your worldly goods, your identity and possibly also your way of life, career and country;

  4. You cannot use your credit card without fear of being traced;

  5. Leaving in such a way as to suggest a fatal accident could subsequently result in allegations of fraud being made against you, especially if life insurance claims are made; fraud too is a criminal offence;
  6. If however you do want to stage a dramatic end this will invariably involve the sea and perhaps a small craft of some description, in which case the risks of drowning in the act are relatively high and more so if you can’t swim;

  7. Unless you have already, and very carefully, made financial provision for your disappearance (I’m thinking bank accounts in the Cayman Islands here) you may find yourself in a cardboard box under the arches of Waterloo Station quicker than you might like;

  8. You will never be able to smile at a camera again for fear that the photo or video will subsequently appear on the Internet and be spotted; Flickr and YouTube grow in popularity daily;

  9. You may not suit facial hair, sunglasses or whatever other disguise you will need to choose and if you dye your hair, re-growth at the roots is a constant giveaway;

  10. You may live to regret what you have done.

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