By Edmund Brown
A jury at Leeds Crown Court heard today of how Shannon Matthews was drugged and held captive for 24 days in the flat of Michael Donovan, Karen Matthews former partners uncle.
Shannon’s mother Karen, along with Michael Donovan, is on trial for the kidnap and false imprisonment of her daughter. She has also been charged with perverting the course of justice after giving police false information. The court heard today that Karen Matthews plan was for Shannon to be released in a nearby supermarket for Michael Donovan to ‘find’ her after spending 24 days strapped to a rope in his flat. The court were also told how Shannon had been subdued on temazepam tablets and travel sickness pills to keep her dazed and confused during her horrendous ordeal.
Shannon was kidnapped on her way home from a school swimming trip by being tricked into the car owned by Michael Donovan. Police went to the house to interview Michael Donovan but there was no answer at that time. She was later found hidden inside the bed frame of a double size bed within the flat.
The search for Shannon was, for West Yorkshire police, the biggest operation they have ever encountered spending more than 3.2 million pounds and using more than 300 officers. There was also more than 800 CCTV tapes viewed around the half mile radius of where she disappeared whilst three-quarters of the UK’s specially trained dogs were also brought in.
The search for Shannon created widespread media attention resulting in her mother appealed to anyone who had information regarding the whereabouts of her daughter. After raising the alarm about the disappearance of her daughter she then gave several passionate appeals for the safe return of her daughter when all along she knew where she was.
Prosecuting QC, Julian Goose said in his opening statement that it was a “wicked and dishonest plan” created by Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan.
Both of the accused deny the charges. The case continues.