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Shannon Matthews

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:33

Shannon Louise Matthews(born 9 September 1998) is a British girl who disappeared on the afternoon of 19 February 2008 in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England.The search for the 9-year-old became a major missing person police operation which was compared to the earlier disappearance of Madeleine McCann.She was found alive on 14 March 2008 at a house in Batley Carr, also in West Yorkshire and only a short distance away from Dewsbury. The house in question belonged to 39-year-old Michael Donovan, the uncle of Craig Meehan - the boyfriend of Shannon's mother. Meehan was later convicted on several accounts of possessing child pornography.

Donovan - formerly known as Paul Drake - was arrested at the scene, and subsequently charged with the kidnapping and false imprisonment of Shannon. Karen Matthews, Shannon's mother, was charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice, on 8 April 2008. The joint trial of Donovan and Matthews commenced at Leeds Crown Court on 11 November 2008 and concluded on 4 December with both defendants being found guilty on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, and perverting the course of justice. They were each given an eight-year prison sentence.


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Disappearance

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:34

Investigation

Prior to her disappearance Shannon was last seen at 15:10 on 19 February 2008, outside Westmoor Junior School, Church Lane, Dewsbury Moor, the school that she attends, where she had been dropped off after a visit to the Dewsbury Sports Centre swimming pool. This is about half a mile from her home in Dewsbury Moor.

The investigation was led by Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan. The West Yorkshire Police questioned 1,500 motorists and also searched 3,000 houses. By 5 March, more than 250 officers and 60 detectives were involved in the investigation, about 10% of West Yorkshire Police's operational strength.This became the largest police search for a missing person, in the country, since the Yorkshire Ripper investigation around 30 years previously. Of the 27 specialist victim recovery dogs in the United Kingdom, 16 were involved in the search.

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Re: Shannon Matthews

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:35

Publicity

The Sun newspaper initially offered a reward of £20,000 for information leading to Shannon's safe return. This was subsequently increased, on 10 March, to £50,000. A business in the town of Huddersfield - nine miles from Dewsbury - also offered £5,000.

The West Yorkshire Police created a web page, 'Missing Shannon Matthews Appeal', to assist in the search and on 7 March, used this to release a new publicity photograph of Shannon. The police also released the 999 call made by Karen Matthews reporting the disappearance. An official website, 'Help Us Find Shannon', including the Shannon Matthews Appeal, was launched on 11 March. Both websites were removed following the discovery of Shannon.

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Media reaction

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:36



A comparison was drawn, in early March 2008, between the publicity given to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann with the much lower level of publicity for Matthews. Roy Greenslade, writing in the guardian.co.uk blog, explained this by stating that "Overarching everything is social class" but added that Matthews going missing in the UK made a difference. The Independent took the same line saying "Kate and Gerry McCann had a lot: they were a couple of nice middle-class doctors on holiday in an upmarket resort... Karen Matthews is not as elegant, nor as eloquent".

The Times noted that the local community has pulled together but that the hunt appeared to have been classed as less newsworthy than the most minor developments in the search for Madeleine McCann. The Brisbane Times said that Karen Matthews and Kate McCann represented two sides of the social class coin in Britain. The Daily Telegraph speculated that had Shannon been part of a middle-class family, in which articulate parents were conversant with the mechanics of mobilising a slick public awareness campaign, then more public attention would have been focused on the effort to find her.

Shannon's mother, Karen Matthews, said on the morning television channel GMTV on 7 March, that her boyfriend Craig Meehan was not involved and that he "would not hurt anybody". Meehan was also defended by Shannon's father, Leon Rose. Nonetheless, Matthews and her boyfriend, in an interview on Radio 4's the Today programme on 12 March, were questioned on suggestions by her parents that her boyfriend had been violent towards Shannon and on Karen having seven children by at least five fathers (Two of the children were registered as unknown father). Commenting on the interview, The Independent said that the case had developed a cruel overtone and that such questions went far beyond necessity and lifted the lid on an uncomfortable hypocrisy in British society.

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Discovery

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:37

Discovery

West Yorkshire Police confirmed that Shannon was found alive at 12:30 on 14 March 2008, twenty-four days after going missing. She was found concealed in the base of a divan bed in a flat in Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr. Michael Donovan, 39, was arrested at the scene.

Shannon was placed under Police Protection by the West Yorkshire Police and was cared for by the Social Services. The police exercised powers under section 46 of the Children Act 1989 which allows a child to remain subject to police protection for 72 hours. Shannon ceased to be subject to police protection on 17 March 2008. Since then Shannon has remained in the care of Kirklees Family Services on a voluntary basis.

The police reported on 15 March that Shannon had started on the road to recovery following her ordeal. Specially trained officers started to question her to establish what had happened since she had gone missing. The questioning, which lasted for several weeks, took place in ten-minute intervals at a special children's suite resembling a classroom.

A film of the Matthews family's search for Shannon, and her homecoming, was shown in an episode of the Channel 4 documentary series Cutting Edge on 20 March.

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Post-kidnap pre-trial events

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:38



Michael Donovan, the uncle of Karen Matthews' boyfriend, was charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment in connection with the incident on 17 March 2008. Donovan appeared before Dewsbury magistrates on 18 March, and was remanded in custody. He then appeared at Leeds Crown Court, via a video link from his prison cell, on 26 March. The provisional trial date was fixed for 11 November.

Relating to examination of computers in the home of Shannon by the investigation team, Craig Meehan, Karen Matthews' boyfriend, was arrested on 2 April, on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.[38] He was remanded in custody, by Dewsbury Magistrates Court, at a hearing on 3 April charged with 11 offences of possessing indecent images of children. On 18 April 2008 Meehan pleaded not guilty, and elected to be tried by magistrate rather than a jury. On 16 September 2008, Meehan was convicted by Dewsbury Magistrates of 11 counts of possessing child pornography, relating to 49 images of level one, two, three and four found stored on his computer after it was seized by police from the house he lived in with the Matthews, on Moorside Road, Dewsbury. On the same day, he was sentenced to 20 weeks imprisonment. He was also released that day; he had already spent longer on remand than the entire length of the sentence.

Shannon's mother, Karen Matthews, was arrested on 6 April on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.She was charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice, on 8 April. At a hearing on 5 September 2008, she was also charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Amanda Hyett, Craig Meehan's sister, was arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, on 4 April 2008. Alice Meehan, the mother of Craig Meehan and sister of Michael Donovan, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice, also on 4 April. Both Amanda Hyett and Alice Meehan were released on police bail on 4 April but they were rearrested, along with Meehan's sister Caroline, on 10 April. All three women were held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice before being released on bail.

The police announced, on 8 April, that they were investigating approaches to the Madeleine McCann fund, for money to assist the search for Shannon.

Karen Matthews was remanded to face trial alongside Donovan in November 2008.

On 24 September 2008, it was reported that Craig Meehan had attempted suicide more than once and that his mother had talked him out of it.

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Trial

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:39

Trial

In November 2008, the BBC reported that the trial heard evidence that Shannon had been drugged to subdue her while being held.

It was noted in newspapers reporting the trial that "The jury was told Shannon was drugged and restrained with a strap tied to a roof beam after her mother hatched a plan to make £50,000 from her faked kidnap. The jury was told Shannon was kept locked in a flat for 24 days by Michael Donovan, who police believe used an elasticated strap with a noose on the end to tether her when he went out."

On 13 November, Detective Constable Mark Cruddace appeared at Leeds Crown Court and gave evidence regarding the case, in particular the finding of the child. Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan also provided evidence.

Giving evidence at the trial, a forensic toxicologist told the court that tests on Shannon's hair indicated that she had been given a sedative, Temazepam, for up to 20 months prior to her disappearance.

Giving evidence Michael Donovan claimed that Karen Matthews had asked him to look after Shannon for several days, that they would make money from newspaper rewards. He told the court that Karen Matthews had threatened him with violence.

On 27 November Karen Matthews took to the witness box to give evidence. Sobbing throughout she denied having anything to do with her daughter's disappearance, instead claiming that her former partner, Craig Meehan, told her to 'take the blame' for what had happened. She said she did so because she was scared of him.

In cross-examination, prosecuting Julian Goose QC said that she had told police a total of five versions of the story and accused her of "telling lie after lie, after lie".

On 4 December 2008, at Leeds Crown Court, Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan were found guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. It was revealed that the plan had been for Michael Donovan to release Shannon Matthews at Dewsbury Market, drive around the corner to 'discover her' then take her to a police station and claim the £50,000 reward. This would then be split between Karen Matthews and Donovan.

On 23 January 2009, Matthews and Donovan were each sentenced to eight years in prison.

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In the media

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:40

In the media

A BBC One Panorama special: Shannon: The Mother Of All Lies was broadcast in the UK on the night of the trial verdict, (4 December 2008), about the disappearance and subsequent investigation, featuring the testimony of friends of the family and the police. The special was watched by 5.6 million viewers.

On 18 May 2009, ITV aired a programme called Tears, Lies and Videotape which documented cases of people who manipulated the media for their own personal attention. The Shannon Matthews case was the main focus of the show.

Comedy act Kunt and the Gang recorded a concept album based on the story. Entitled Shannon Matthews: The Musical it went on sale in October 2010 on the Club Tuppence label.

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Serious case review

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:40

Serious case review

On 16 June 2010 the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board report into the case found that social services could not have anticipated the abduction of Shannon Matthews.

The review stated: "The Serious Case Review concluded that the historical and current knowledge available to professionals involved with this family could not have led them to anticipate the third child's abduction from her home or her mother's involvement in this. "The only way to have avoided her abduction was through her prior removal from home under a Care Order and there is no evidence to suggest that this was warranted on the basis of professional knowledge about this case."

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Shannon's complex family tree

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:45

Shannon's complex family tree
By Mark Simpson
BBC North of England correspondent


Shannon Matthews: Went missing for three weeks

When detectives drew up a detailed family tree of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, it was so complicated that the diagram looked more like the London tube map.

Rather than spreading out in conventional fashion, it veered off in various, complex directions.

Karen Matthews gave birth to Shannon on 9 September, 1998. She is one of Karen's seven children - by five different fathers.

Karen's current partner, Craig Meehan, is the father of her youngest child.

The couple have been together for the past four years. At 22, Craig is 10 years younger than Karen.

It is his uncle - Michael Donovan - who has been charged with the kidnap and false imprisonment of Shannon.

FAMILY TREE OF SHANNON MATTHEWS
graphic of shannon's family tree
Shannon is one of seven children born to Karen Matthews by five different fathers
Shannon's father is Leon Rose, Craig Meehan is her stepfather
Craig's mother, Alice, is one of nine children, according to reports
One of Alice's brothers is Michael Donovan, also known as Paul Drake
He has been arrested on suspicion of abducting Shannon

When she disappeared last month, Shannon was living with Karen and Craig in Dewsbury Moor along with three other children.

Shannon's real father is Leon Rose, who lives 10 miles away in Huddersfield.

When Karen and Leon were together, they had two children - Shannon and her older brother, who now lives with his father in Huddersfield.

Of Karen's seven children, four live with her and three - two boys and a girl - live elsewhere.

Her partner, Craig, is also believed to come from a large family. It has been reported that he has nine aunts and uncles.

During the course of the police investigation into the disappearance of Shannon, they looked at all of her family connections.

At the same time, they searched 3,000 houses in the Dewsbury area and spoke to 6,000 different people.

Although Shannon's father, Leon, did not see much of her during the months before she disappeared, he stood side-by-side with Karen and Craig during one of the community events to highlight the search for the missing schoolgirl.

And when step-father Craig was criticised by some members of Karen's family, Leon defended him.

As well as highlighting the divisions in the family, the search for Shannon brought some relatives closer together.

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SEARCH FOR SHANNON: Biggest inquiry since Yorkshire Ripper

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:46

SEARCH FOR SHANNON: Biggest inquiry since Yorkshire Ripper
http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/latest-news/central-leeds/search_for_shannon_biggest_inquiry_since_yorkshire_ripper_1_2174139

Published on Tuesday 11 March 2008 11:09

Senior police officers say the Shannon Matthews search is the biggest missing person's inquiry in the area ever and one of the largest searches since the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry 30 years ago.

As the search for Shannon moved into it's fourth week today Chief Inspector Graham Armitage of West Yorkshire Police said: "It's the biggest investigation of its kind now, it's certainly the biggest missing persons inquiry since the Yorkshire Ripper which I also worked on."

Chief Insp Armitage was speaking as teams of specialist dogs were gathered at Crows Nest Park in Dewsbury today.

Officers said the 'victim recovery dogs' were specialists in finding decomposing bodies, there are only 27 such dogs in the country, 16 of them are now working on this investigation with many of them being brought in from Strathclyde, Hampshire, Surrey and Manchester.

However, asked if officers are now looking for a body, Chief Insp Armitage said: "We would like to find Shannon alive."

Woodlands and playing fields in the area around Shannon's home in Dewsbury Moor have now been thoroughly searched. Senior investigator

Chief Supt Andy Brennan said officers were due to work shifts of up to 14 hours as the search continued to show no real clues to Shannon's whereabouts.

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Karen Matthews conned live-in lover Meehan into thinking he'd fathered one of her 7 children

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:53

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1092022/Karen-Matthews-conned-live-lover-Meehan-thinking-hed-fathered-7-children.htmlKaren Matthews conned live-in lover Meehan into thinking he'd fathered one of her 7 children

By Daily Mail Reporter

5th December 2008


Craig Meehan

Craig Meehan lived with Karen Matthews and four of her children

Supermarket fishmonger Craig Meehan was conned by Karen Matthews into thinking her youngest child was his.

She convinced the 22-year-old with an obsession for child pornography, who had lived with her and four of her children for four years, that he was the father of a daughter born in 2005.

It was only through Shannon's abduction that the discovery was made.

As part of their investigation, police took DNA samples of all the family and as a result Karen Matthews' lying was exposed.

Meehan was said to be stunned when told that he was not the real father. His identity is uncertain, adding another twist to the Matthews' tangled private life.

Meehan, who is the last of a long line of men in Karen Matthews' life, was not called to give evidence at the trial but questions over him still remain.

In September he was convicted at Dewsbury magistrates of downloading child pornography on his home computer.

During his trial he admitted he was still in love with Matthews and yesterday police had to talk him out of turning up at Leeds Crown Court to listen to the jury announce the verdicts.

Only Meehan knows whether he was an accomplice to his uncle Michael Donovan in the abduction plot, as his former partner claimed in court, or an innocent bystander who was duped by her lies.
Karen Matthews

Michael Donovan

Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan were today convicted of false imprisonment, kidnap and perverting the course of justice

Throughout the 24-day hunt for Shannon, Meehan behaved like a devoted boyfriend.

He accompanied Matthews on events to raise the profile of the police search and kissed her as they celebrated Shannon's return on March 14.



A behind-the-scenes TV documentary on Channel 4 at the time, showed Meehan and Matthews in an apparently close and loving relationship.

But like everything else in this strange and tangled saga, it was all a charade.

When Meehan was jailed for 20 weeks for viewing dozens of disgusting photographs, he was released immediately under police protection because of time spent in jail on remand.

During the case the supermarket fishmonger, who earned £16,000 a year, spoke about his turbulent relationship with Matthews.

He said his partner of four years was prone to jealousy and unfairly suspected him of having an affair.
Family photo: A young Craig Meehan with his uncle Michael Donovan

Shannon Matthews

Kidnapped: Shannon Matthews

He told how he sometimes walked out when they argued, but always returned.

But Matthews told the jury at Leeds Crown Court that Meehan was a violent bully and she attempted to blame him and his family for the abduction plot.

Other members of Matthews' family have also claimed Meehan was violent.

Matthews' was dismissed as a liar by the jury's verdict and it is clear she ran rings round her boyfriend, who wrongly believed he was the father of her youngest child, now aged three.

Meehan was not available for comment yesterday.

He has kept well away from the Moorside estate since his child pornography conviction and is believed to be living with a relative elsewhere in West Yorkshire.

He is no longer under police protection and is thought to be jobless and once again relying on the state for financial support.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1092022/Karen-Matthews-conned-live-lover-Meehan-thinking-hed-fathered-7-children.html#ixzz1b59CDKK7

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'I've been everywhere I can think of'

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:56




West Yorkshire police have released the recording of the 999 emergency call made by Karen Matthews. Her daughter Shannon has not been seen since failing to return home from school in Dewsbury on February 19


This is an edited extract of the actual call. West Yorkshire police are unable to release the full conversation.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/audio/2008/mar/05/shannon.matthews.999.call Click on this link for 999 call

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Shannon Matthews: The Musical [Explicit]

Post  milly on Mon 17 Oct - 23:58

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shannon-Matthews-The-Musical-Explicit/dp/B0043TS2MW/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt


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In video: Shannon Matthews trial

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:02

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7765647.stm Click on link for interview

In video: Shannon Matthews trial
Karen Matthews denies asking Michael Donovan to look after her daughter Shannon for money in police interviews during their investigation into the girl's kidnap.

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Michael Donovan police interview

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:04

Michael Donovan police interview

Michael Donovan was interviewed at Dewsbury police station after being arrested for the kidnap and false imprisonment of Shannon Matthews.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7765262.stm Click Link for interview

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Moment Shannon was found

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:06



Detective Constable Paul Kettlewell was in Michael Donovan's house when Shannon Matthews was found in the base of a bed.

Speaking about the event he says he "cannot even begin to describe" the emotion he felt.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7762818.stm click link for interview

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Shannon pair guilty: Police reaction

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:07

Shannon pair guilty: Police reaction

Det Supt Andy Brennan from West Yorkshire Police gave his reaction outside Leeds Crown Court following the conviction of Karen Matthews for kidnapping her daughter Shannon.

The 33-year-old and her co-accused Michael Donovan, 40, were convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7765131.stm click link for reaction video

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Prosecutors condemn Shannon pair

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:07



Malcolm Taylor from the Crown Prosecution Service reacts to the guilty verdicts in the Shannon Matthews kidnap trial.

Speaking outside Leeds Crown Court, he said the "cynical plot" by Shannon's mother Karen, 33, and Michael Donovan, 40, disregarded a family and the public.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7765203.stm click link

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Court sees mother's TV appeal

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:09

Court sees mother's TV appeal

A court has been shown BBC footage of Karen Matthews making a tearful appeal for the return of her missing daughter Shannon.

First broadcast 20 February 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7725251.stm click link for appeal

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I like your ringtone: What Shannon’s mother said to officer on hearing her daughter was alive

Post  milly on Tue 18 Oct - 0:11

I like your ringtone: What Shannon’s mother said to officer on hearing her daughter was alive

By Sam Greenhill and Chris Brooke

Last updated at 2:35 AM on 14th November 2008




Karen Matthews was more interested in the ringtone on a policeman’s phone than her daughter’s welfare minutes after being told she had been found alive, a court heard yesterday.

Instead of asking about nine-year- old Shannon’s health or how she was rescued, she asked the officer to text the musical ringtone to her.

She was also like ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ during the 24-day hunt for Shannon, crying on TV but joking and chatting once she was out of the limelight and suggesting she wanted to sleep with a ‘cute’ policeman, it was alleged.


'Jekyll and Hyde': Karen Matthews's friend Natalie Brown said in court that she acted differently in private and to police while Shannon (left) was missing

Detective Constable Alexander Grummit told Leeds Crown Court that Matthews’ only comment after he told her Shannon had been found was to say she ‘liked’ his
ringtone, which played the hit single Crazy by Gnarls Barkley.

He added: ‘My personal mobile phone rang, which has got the ringtone of Crazy.

Karen said, “I like that ringtone, you must Bluetooth or text it to me.” I was thinking,
“We’ve just found your daughter and you’re more interested in the ringtone. It just wasn’t right.’

Matthews is accused of kidnapping Shannon and drugging and tethering her by a noose for 24 days in a plot to claim a £50,000 reward.

Shannon was a pawn in a ‘wicked’ plot by Matthews and her partner’s uncle Michael Donovan to pretend the girl was missing. Her mother knew where she was, it is alleged.


Accused: Shannon's uncle, Michael Donovan, allegedly held the schoolgirl captive for 24 days so that he and Matthews could claim £50,000 reward

On March 14 this year, after 24 days of captivity, police broke into Donovan’s flat in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and found Shannon in a bed base where Donovan was also hiding.

He was arrested.

With Shannon safe, two officers were sent to her mother’s house in Dewsbury to tell Matthews and her partner Craig Meehan.

DC Grummit said: ‘I explained a girl had been found I believed was Shannon and I had to come to take Karen to the police station to be able to identify her.

'It was a very unusual reaction. She hugged Craig and then turned away from me.

‘The strange thing was, she didn’t ask any questions, like, “Where did you find her?” It’s not how I would have expected somebody to react, having just been told we had found their daughter.’

Prosecutor Julian Goose QC asked: ‘At any time, did she ask, “Where was my daughter? Where was she found?”.’ DC Grummit replied: ‘No, she didn’t.’

The QC asked: ‘At any time did she ask how she was?’ DC Grummit said: ‘No. But there were other questions to ask, like, “Where has she been? What address has she been at? Was she injured?”. Nothing like that.’

DC Grummit said her behaviour was also ‘strange’ the day after Shannon went missing.

He said she was present when his colleague’s mobile phone rang with a ‘quirky’ ringtone. He said: ‘Karen Matthews’ reaction was very unusual because she almost
started dancing.’

Neighbour Natalie Brown told jurors how she let Matthews and Meehan stay with her for five days as police searched their home.

During that time she said she saw a contrast between Matthews’s behaviour in private and in public.
Karen Matthews, 32, and Craig Meehan, 22, the mother and stepfather of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews outside their home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

Karen Matthews, 32, and Craig Meehan, 22, the mother and stepfather of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews outside their home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire

tMrs Brown told the court: ‘It was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the police and press were there, she came across upset and withdrawn.’

But Mrs Brown said that away from prying eyes: ‘She was back to her usual, having a laugh and a joke.’

Mrs Brown said one day they met other woman in a community centre, where one made a comment about a policeman on the case.

She added: ‘One woman said about him having a cute bum. Karen said she wouldn’t mind taking him upstairs.’

Mrs Brown, 27, said Matthews was ‘acting like a child, having a giggle, thinking it was funny’.

She added: ‘I never saw any real tears coming from Karen. Her eyes would well up, and that was it.’

Matthews and Donovan deny kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

The case continues.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1085380/I-like-ringtone-What-Shannon-8217-s-mother-said-officer-hearing-daughter-alive.html#ixzz1b5EzF0st

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