Questions remain exactly 10 years after schoolgirl Shannon Matthews disappeared

Ten years ago today, the disappearance of a nine-year-old schoolgirl prompted the biggest manhunt in Yorkshire since the search for the Ripper.

Shannon Matthews was missing for 24 days in a case which gripped the nation – before she turned up in a flat just a mile away from her home.

And incredibly it emerged that the schoolgirl’s mum had plotted to make money from the publicity the case would bring.

Shannon was found hidden in the base of a divan bed in Dewsbury Moor, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports.

During her disappearance many people said they knew Shannon’s mother Karen had something to do with it.


And after Shannon was discovered, it was revealed the man who was hiding her, 39-year-old Michael Donovan, had planned the whole thing with Shannon’s own mother, Karen, to make money from the publicity.

Donovan was Karen’s partner Craig Meehan’s uncle.

Shannon was immediately placed under police protection, and then under the care of Kirklees Family Services.


Matthews and Donovan were charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and perverting the course of justice.

During the trial at Leeds Crown Court it emerged the plan had been for Donovan to release Shannon at Dewsbury Market, ‘discover’ her there, then take her to a police station and claim the £50,000 reward. This would be split between Donovan and Karen.

The jury was told Shannon had been drugged to subdue her during the kidnap, and police believed she had been restrained with an elasticated strap when Donovan went out.

A forensic toxicologist told the court tests on Shannon’s hair showed she had been given temazepam for up to 20 months before her disappearance.

After three weeks in court the pair was found guilty and jailed for eight years.

Karen was released in April 2012 after serving half her sentence. She was given a new name for use in public, but authorities did not consider her able to maintain a completely new identity.

Donovan had already been released.

Karen moved away and interest in the case dwindled.

Shannon’s whereabouts and her identity now are protected.

But as she turned 18 last year, the spotlight was once again on Dewsbury Moor as a series of documentaries and a drama starring Sheridan Smith were released.

And Karen’s friend Julie Bushby, who had led the public search for Shannon, told a Channel 5 documentary she still has questions for Karen.

She said: “She always said she’d do a lie detector for me when she came out.

“Was she involved would be the first question. Did she plan it? Was she involved? Is there others involved?

“If you look on the police interview, she says she knew he had her but she didn’t know where. Did she actually know where?

“She’s not innocent because she knew, but if I was going down, I’d make sure I took other people down with me, and for some reason, some unknown reason, she didn’t.”

Source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/questions-remain-exactly-10-years-12049540

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