Incredible story of ‘canoe man’ fraudster reinterpreted as MeToo tale of coercive control

Chris Lang, the screenwriter, said Anne had been reassured that the drama “is as sympathetic a telling of her story as is possible, given what she did”.

He said: “For a mother to do what she did was one of the things that people found most shocking. So I wanted to put her at the centre and try to understand the journey that she went on.”

At her trial, Anne used the defence of marital coercion, which the jury rejected. The crime of coercive control was not brought into law until 2015, and Lang said that could have made a difference to the verdict.

“When she was tried, you had to prove that the person controlling you was physically present when the crime was committed,” he said. “Looking back, it was slightly absurd that a court wasn’t able to recognise that someone is present in your mind, particularly if they’ve been gently coercing you and controlling you for 30 or 40 years.

“You don’t need to have them standing by your side in order to get them to bend to your will.”

Dolan, asked if Anne would have received a different verdict or sentence if the crime had been tried in the MeToo era, said: “I certainly think that she went to prison for a long time and there are corporate frauds where people haven’t … I think she’d possibly be listened to differently.”

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