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The moment Karen Matthews' mask slipped: New video reveals instant detective KNEW Shannon's blubbing mother was involved in her daughter's kidnap during 'strange' interview

    Shannon Matthews was nine when her mother planned her kidnap in 2008
    Detective Inspector Chris Walker said he found Karen Matthews' interview odd
    She was convinced that Shannon was warm and safe and 'alive and well' 

By Isabella Nikolic and Dan Sales For Mailonline

Published: 09:50, 11 February 2021 | Updated: 12:52, 11 February 2021

The moment Karen Matthews accidentally revealed she was involved in her daughter's disappearance emerged for the first time last night as was shown saying missing Shannon was 'in a nice warm environment'.  Detective Inspector Chris Walker said the remark, captured in a newly-uncovered video of an interview with Matthews in Dewsbury station, had immediately sounded alarm bells.  Matthews who was in on the kidnap plot had insisted missing Shannon, nine, was in a 'nice warm environment' despite claiming no knowledge of her whereabouts.  But in fact she had been taken in a staged abduction cooked up by her and her boyfriend's uncle Michael Donovan.  The warped conspiracy had been dreamt up to try to claim any reward money offered over the little girl's disappearance, believed to have been inspired by an episode of Channel 4 hit Shameless.  Detective Inspector Chris Walker, of West Yorkshire Homicide and Major Enquiry team, revealed he found it bizarre that Matthews seemed completely confident that Shannon was warm and safe.  The mother had been brought in for questioning after details had begun emerging about members of her family and circle of friends.  She told officers: 'It just feels empty now, the house, without her. It's not like Shannon.  She's timid, she's scared of the dark and everything. So that's how I know something's wrong.  She's out there somewhere in a nice warm environment but the person who's got her is not coming forward which is what we'd like really.' 

Shannon went missing in March 2008 on her way home from a swimming lesson in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.  Matthews was seen crying on the news as she pleaded with the public to help her find her daughter.   Police launched a £3.2million search for missing Shannon, only to find that she had been tied up and drugged in Donovan's home for 24 days.  The little girl had been hidden in a divan bed in his bedroom with a list of rules of how to behave.  He and Karen Matthews planned to 'discover' Shannon after a while and claim a £50,000 reward for her safe return.  It was later revealed that Karen was going out with Donovan's nephew Craig Meehan.  Mr Walker told a new Channel 5 Documentary that it seemed as though Karen was 'personally convinced' that Shannon was with someone else and was 'alive and well'.  He added: 'It did raise suspicions in my mind that she had some idea of what had happened to Shannon and at that time there was absolutely nothing to link her to Shannon's disappearance.'

Detective Constables Nick Townsend, 61, and Paul Kettlewell, 68, were the officers who found Shannon.  Mr Kettlewell said: 'I was elated. As we went down the stairs it was like carrying my own child.'

Mr Townsend added: 'Nobody ever thought we'd see Shannon Matthews alive again.  It's hard to describe the emotion. You just want to cheer.'

The officers had visited Donovan's flat and were told that a downstairs neighbour had heard 'tiny footsteps'.   Mr Townsend said: 'That's when my spidey senses really started tingling. I couldn't believe what I had heard.' 

They found an elasticated strap with a noose on the end which Donovan would put around Shannon's waist so she could go to the toilet but not leave the flat.  The schoolgirl was not physically harmed during her time in the flat, although she was fed sleeping pills to sedate her and seemed 'lost;.  Life for Shannon in her makeshift prison was also governed by a set of rules scribbled on a sheet of paper, which police found on top of a television set.  The note banned her from going near windows, making any noise or banging her feet.  Several words were underlined to stress their importance. She was, however, allowed to play her Super Mario computer games and her music CDs.   The initials 'IPU' were at the bottom and represented a threat Matthews would make against her daughter, ranting 'I promise you'. 

Shannon was taken into care and given a new identity.   Mother-of-seven Karen and accomplice Donavan were found guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice in December 2008.  Their Leeds Crown Court case had heard a passionate closing speech from Julian Goose QC that branded her a 'consummate liar'.  He told the jury: "She has lied and lied and lied again. To the police, various friends and you in this court.  She has lied so often and so much that she has reached the point where all she can say is 'I was confused' and then blame everybody else except herself.  You know, as we all do from life experiences, that people who tell lies have to stick to the lie because if they change it they get found out.  You may think ladies and gentleman, as you can be sure about it, she has been found out for the dishonest and, we say, wicked liar that she is."

Both were sentenced at to eight years behind bars.   Judge McCombe told them: 'The offences were truly despicable.  It is impossible to conceive how you could have put this young girl through the ordeal you inflicted upon her.  It is incomprehensible you could have permitted your friends, neighbours and in your case, Matthews, even your children to sacrifice time and energy in searches for the supposedly missing child.'

Since leaving prison Donovan has vanished but Matthews has been frequently seen in public.  She lives in a secret location in the south of England under a new identity, which cannot be disclosed for legal reasons.  It was revealed last year she had found love with a paedophile handyman who had been doing up her house.  Paul Hunter, 58, was jailed for five years in 2010 for abusing his former stepdaughter, who bravely waived her anonymity last year.  He had been working as a driver taking the elderly to hospital and disabled teenagers to college.  Back in January 2010 Oxford Crown Court heard his offences took place between 2006 and 2009 when his victim was aged between 15 and 17.  Saunders, of Blackbird Leys, Oxfordshire, was only caught after he was jailed for eight weeks for benefit fraud in May the previous year.  Photographs of the victim were found on his mobile phone.  He was jailed for five years and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.  Hunter and Matthews got engaged over Christmas 2019 but she had to buy her own Princess Diana-style ring herself.  Shannon is also subject to a lifelong anonymity order alongside her siblings.

The tragic case of Shannon Matthews and her feckless mother Karen

19 February 2008 Shannon Matthews is last seen outside her school in Dewsbury

20 February Police announce a massive search for the missing girl

21 February 200 volunteers join the local police search party

1 March Shannon's mother Karen issues an emotional public appeal for the safe return on her daughter

12 March Reward offered for information leading to Shannon's whereabouts is increased to £50,000

14 March Shannon is found inside the base of a divan base at the home of Michael Donovan in Batley Carr. Over the next few weeks Donovan, along with Shannon's mother and stepfather, are all charged for separate offences

23 January 2009 Matthews and Donovan are sentenced to eight years each of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice

April 2012: Matthews is released from prison after serving half her sentence. She was given a new taxpayer-funded identity and home. She is banned from seeing Shannon and her other children, who were put in care.

2020:  Mother-of-seven Matthews is revealed to be living a new life, under a new name and has turned to God in southern England

Lost Soul

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Re: The moment Karen Matthews' mask slipped: New video reveals instant ....
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2021, 10:40:53 AM »
I'll never understand how a mother can do that to her own child  :soapbox: