Karen Matthews

Where is Karen Matthews and does she see her other children besides Shannon?

The infamous case is examined in a new C5 doc

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In 2008, Karen Matthews ‘kidnapped’ her own daughter Shannon, sparking a nationwide search, but where is Karen Matthews now?

How long did she spend in prison? And does she see Shannon and her other six children?

Here’s everything you need to know about Karen Matthews and the infamous case.

Karen Matthews makes public appeal for her daughter's safe return
Karen Matthews appeals for information on her so-called missing daughter (Credit: Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo)

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Who is Karen Matthews?

Karen was a mum of seven living in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, with her partner Craig Meehan.

She gained nationwide notoriety when her daughter Shannon ‘went missing’ in February 2008.

Karen took part in several public appeals for information about her daughter.

However, her behaviour raised eyebrows and some suspected she knew more than she was letting on.

Why did she kidnap Shannon Matthews?

In fact, Karen had plotted with Michael Donovan to kidnap her daughter Shannon, and dupe the nation.

Michael was the uncle of Karen’s partner at the time, Craig Meehan.

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

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

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

Luckily, police found Shannon alive and well on March 14 2008 after 24 days.

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

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

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How long did Karen Matthews spend in prison?

A jury found Karen and Michael guilty.

They were sentenced to eight years imprisonment following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.

They received concurrent six- and three-year terms for kidnap and false imprisonment.

The judge gave them two further years to run consecutively for perverting the course of justice.

However, they walked free in 2012, having served half their sentences.

Where is Karen Matthews and how old is she now?

Karen, now 45, cut and dyed her red hair upon her release from prison.

She is now living under a new identity in the south of England.

Despite this, there have been several sightings of the disgraced parent.

She worked in a charity shop a few years ago.

However, her boss reportedly sacked her after finding out she is engaged to convicted paedophile Paul Saunders, 57.

The former factory cleaner allegedly wants plastic surgery to stop her getting hassled in the street.

She still maintains her innocence and has reportedly converted to Christianity.

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)

Does Karen see Shannon and her other children?

Karen has no contact with her daughter Shannon, or any of her other six children.

Shannon is currently 21 years of age and is living under a new identity.

The High Court granted Shannon lifelong anonymity.

Shannon’s identity and whereabouts is a secret and will remain that way.

Her siblings also received anonymity for life due to a court order banning their identities from ever being revealed.

Karen gave birth to seven children, including Shannon, by five different fathers.

All were taken into care and given new identities and are protected for life.

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.

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

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