Family of Shannon Matthews' sick kidnapper 'warned police to go to his house on day one of search'

2 December 2022, 21:29

Shannon Matthews could have been found a day into the investigation, the kidnapper's sister has claimed
Shannon Matthews could have been found a day into the investigation, the kidnapper's sister has claimed. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The family of a man who kidnapped Shannon Matthews told police to check out his house on day one of the investigation.

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The sister of Mick Donovan has claimed in a new documentary that her pleas were ignored by the force at the start of the £3.2 million hunt for Shannon, then aged 9, in 2008 in the town of Dewsbury, in Yorkshire.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: "Not one of them believed me when I said, ‘Go to his house’,” the Mirror reported.

Shannon was drugged and hid in the base of a divan bed in Dewsbury for 24 days.

Her mother Karen Matthews had planned the crime with Donovan, her ex-boyfriend's uncle, to try and claim a £50,000 reward for "finding" her.

Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews. Picture: Getty

For her part in the crime, Matthews, labelled Britain's worst mum, was jailed for eight years, but was released in 2012 after serving half her sentence.

Now Donovan's sister has said that Shannon's three and a half week ordeal could have been over after a single day if police had listened to her.

She said in a programme called The Man Who Took Shannon, set to be aired on Channel 5 next Thursday: “The day Shannon went missing, I was listening to the radio and it said a child’s gone missing, named her. I knew he had her. \

"All I could think… he’s done it once before… What if he has…?

Karen Matthews after Shannon was found
Karen Matthews after Shannon was found. Picture: Getty

“I called the police and said, ‘Check out my brother, please’. I got no response whatsoever from them… they didn’t care or believe me.

West Yorkshire Police has denied the claims. A spokesperson said they “conducted a thorough investigation into the kidnap”.

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They added: “The records do not support this account of a call made to the police on 19/02/2008.”

Another relative, who did not want to be named, said he told Crimestoppers after the search started. "I thought it were a bit strange,” he said. “I believed he had Shannon, so went round. He wouldn’t let me in.”

Shannno Matthews on being arrested
Shannno Matthews on being arrested. Picture: Getty

Shannon was eventually found after the relative told police that they should go to see Donovan.

Crimestoppers said: “Our charity takes crime information completely anonymously. No personal details are ever asked for, or stored.”

Donovan was released from prison in 2012, but was recalled after strange behaviour in Leeds. His sentence expired in 2016, but his family said he is in a psychiatric facility.

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