Shannon Matthews and her family were headline news in 2008 when the nine-year-old disappeared, but where is Shannon Matthews now?
Why will Shannon never speak out publicly? And does she see her mum Karen?
The Disappearance of Shannon Matthews is a new Channel 5 documentary series.
It examines the sick hoax played on the nation by Karen Matthews.
Here’s everything you need to know about the infamous case.
Who is Shannon Matthews?
Shannon Louise Matthews was born on September 9 1998.
She attended Westmoor Junior School, Dewsbury Moor.
She was a normal little girl, until she became involuntarily famous in the UK when she ‘went missing’.
Shannon ‘disappeared’ in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on February 19 2008.
It became a major missing person police operation, compared to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
It was the biggest police inquiry in the area since the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.
Police spent millions on the operation.
At the time, her mother Karen and her partner Craig Meehan made numerous public appeals.
Was Shannon Matthews found?
After 24 days, Shannon was alive and well and discovered on March 14 2008.
It emerged that Karen had plotted the kidnap with her boyfriend’s uncle, Michael Donovan.
Karen and Michael drugged Shannon with sedatives and hid her in the base of a divan bed at Michael’s house.
Michael had learning difficulties, with an IQ of around just half the national average.
Police arrested Michael on the scene, and charged him with kidnapping and false imprisonment.
They also arrested Karen, who was 44 at the time.
She was found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.
Shannon and Michael planned to release Shannon after a while and claim the £50,000 reward.
A jury found Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan guilty.
They were sentenced to eight years imprisonment following a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
They served half of their sentence and were released in 2012.
Why will she never speak out publicly?
Shannon Matthews will never speak publicly due to a lifetime reporting restriction.
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 has seven children, including Shannon, by five different fathers.
All were taken into care and given new identities and are protected for life.
Where is Shannon Matthews now?
Shannon is currently 21 years of age and is living under a new identity.
She received a new identity and family and her location can never be disclosed.
In 2018, her grandparents June and Gordon Matthews spoke to the Daily Mail and revealed they had seen a recent picture of their granddaughter.
They described her as “beautiful.”
Does Shannon still see her mum Karen?
Shannon has no contact with her mum Karen or her grandparents.
June and Gordon Matthews were too old to take responsibility for the children at the time.
Shannon received a court-appointed new identity.
Her grandparents receive occasional updates from social services, but do not have any contact with her.
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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