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Video reveals instant police officer KNEW Shannon’s mother was involved in her daughter’s kidnap

A policeman has revealed the moment he first suspected Karen Matthews was involved in her daughter’s disappearance in a newly-emerged video.

Detective Inspector Chris Walker said last night it was a remark during an interview 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 and 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 her found it bizarre that Matthews seemed completely confident that Shannon was warm and safe. 

Shannon went missing in March 2008 on her way home from a swimming lesson in Dewsbury

Karen Matthews and Michael Donavan were both found guilty of kidnapping Shannon, nine

Karen Matthews and Michael Donavan were both found guilty of kidnapping Shannon, nine

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.’  

Matthews was pictured looking elated with her former partner Craig Meehan after Shannon was found alive. Meehan was not involved in the kidnapping plot but was later convicted for possessing child pornography

Matthews was pictured looking elated with her former partner Craig Meehan after Shannon was found alive. Meehan was not involved in the kidnapping plot but was later convicted for possessing child pornography

The bed that Shannon was hidden in inside Donovan's squalid flat. A policeman had tears in his eyes for a new documentary where he described finding her

The bed that Shannon was hidden in inside Donovan’s squalid flat. A policeman had tears in his eyes for a new documentary where he described finding her

Mr Walker (pictured) 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'

Mr Walker (pictured) 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’

Detective Inspector Chris Walker, of West Yorkshire Homicide and Major Enquiry team, revealed her found it bizarre that Karen seemed completely confident that Shannon was warm and safe

Detective Inspector Chris Walker, of West Yorkshire Homicide and Major Enquiry team, revealed her found it bizarre that Karen seemed completely confident that Shannon was warm and safe

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

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.  

Mother-of-seven Matthews, 41, left in 2008, knew where her daughter was. Today she is living a new life, under a new name and has turned to God

Turned to God: Mother-of-seven Matthews, 41, poured her heart out for an hour to Christian friends from a local church group in a cafe before reading through newspaper reports about the controversial BBC drama The Moorside, starring BAFTA winner Smith

Mother-of-seven Matthews, 41, left in 2008 and right last year, knew where her daughter was. Today she is living a new life, under a new name and has turned to God

The bed that Shannon was hidden in inside Donovan's squalid flat. A policeman had tears in his eyes for a new documentary where he described finding her

The bed that Shannon was hidden in inside Donovan’s squalid flat. A policeman had tears in his eyes for a new documentary where he described finding her

Shannon Matthews was forced to adhere to a strict list of rules, which were signed off with 'IPU', which the jury was told stood for 'I promise you',  a threat Karen used against Shannon

Shannon Matthews was forced to adhere to a strict list of rules, which were signed off with ‘IPU’, which the jury was told stood for ‘I promise you’,  a threat Karen used against Shannon

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.

Both were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court to eight years behind bars. 

The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews, airs on Channel 5, February 10 and February 11 at 9pm.


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