Megan Aldridge

Shannon Matthews’ childhood best friend shares grief over never seeing her again

She's interviewed in new Channel 5 documentary series The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews

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Shannon Matthews’ childhood best friend has spoken for the first time in a Channel 5 documentary series.

Megan Aldridge shares her grief in The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews, which starts on Wednesday February 10 2021.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Shannon Matthews BBC News
Shannon Matthews’ school picture appeared on the BBC News (Credit: BBC One/YouTube)

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What happened to Shannon?

In 2008, Karen Matthews ‘kidnapped’ her own daughter Shannon, sparking a nationwide search.

First of all, Karen plotted with Michael Donovan to kidnap Shannon, and dupe the nation.

The pair hoped to receive the £50,000 reward for her safe return.

Shannon became involuntarily famous in the UK when she ‘went missing’ on February 19 2008.

It became a major missing person police operation, compared to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Karen and Michael drugged Shannon with sedatives and hid her in the base of a divan bed at Michael’s house.

Police found Shannon after 24 days.

Finally, Karen and Michael spent time in jail for their crimes.

The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews on Channel 5

The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews is a two-part documentary.

It examines the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews in Yorkshire in 2008.

The investigation gripped the nation.

The series features exclusive interviews with Shannon’s best friend at the time Megan Aldridge.

It also talks to the police officers who eventually found her and members of the local community.

Karen Matthews and partner Craig Meeham leave home in Dewsbury last night Friday PICTURE BY PHIL SPENCER
Karen Matthews and partner Craig Meehan pictured in Dewsbury after Shannon’s alleged disappearance (Credit: Phil Spencer)

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Shannon Matthews best friend: What has Megan said?

Megan Aldridge has spoken for the first time to Channel 5 about the disappearance of her then best friend.

She is visibly emotional during the interview, as she describes her grief at never seeing Shannon again.

Social services received Shannon into care, along with her six siblings.

Megan says: “I genuinely hope she is living the life that she wanted now.

“After everything she’s been through she deserves to be happy.”

She adds: “I literally lost my best friend. The only person I wanted to talk to and be around.”

Megan has not seen Shannon since, as Shannon has a new identity for her own protection.

She says: “It was upsetting, and it still is, that I’m not ever going to see her.”

At the time, a nine-year-old Megan was seen crying at a press conference after Shannon disappeared.

She was asked by police to think of places where Shannon could be hiding.

What else is said in the documentary?

Julie Bushby led the community search to find nine-year-old Shannon.

She now believes the case should be “put to bed” for the sake of Karen and her daughter.

She says: “Karen made a big mistake. She’s lost everything because of this.

“She’s now living a lonely life.

“Twelve years after I think everybody should put it to bed now and let Karen get on with her life, let the kids get on with their lives and the estate get on with their lives. And just let it die.”

Julie was a local friend of Karen, and admits Karen “let down the whole community”.

Meanwhile, Detective Constable Paul Kettlewell travels back to Michael Donovan’s flat to retrace the moment he found Shannon hiding under a bed, tied up with a rope and drugged.

He says: “I couldn’t believe that I’d found her. We had Shannon and she was alive, I just couldn’t believe it.”

The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews starts on Channel 5 at 9pm on Wednesday February 10 2021.

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