Grandmother: Shannon spared 'lifetime of misery'

By Rosamond Hutt, PA

The grandmother of Shannon Matthews today claimed the uncovering of a kidnapping plot orchestrated by the girl's mother had saved the youngster from "a lifetime of misery".

June Matthews, whose daughter Karen faces a substantial jail term after being found guilty of kidnapping her own child, told the Sunday Mirror that, despite her ordeal, Shannon would now be better off.

Karen, 33, conspired with her partner's uncle Michael Donovan, 40, to keep Shannon drugged and imprisoned for 24 days in a plan to claim a £50,000 reward offered by a national newspaper.

She was condemned as "pure evil" by Det Supt Andy Brennan, the officer who led the investigation.

In the interview, June said: "I never thought I would say this but the kidnap plot is the best thing that could have happened to Shannon.

"Those three weeks have saved her from a lifetime of misery. We know she will live with her ordeal forever, but anything is better than the awful future she faced with Karen."

Shannon, now 10, went missing on February 19 as she walked home from school.

West Yorkshire Police launched a massive search operation costing almost £3.2 million - one of the largest ever conducted by the force.

On March 14 she was discovered in the base of a divan bed in Donovan's flat in Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, less than a mile away from her home in Dewsbury Moor.

June told the paper she "wept for hours" after hearing that officers had discovered an elasticated strap in the loft of the property which was believed to have been used to tether Shannon when Donovan went out.

She said: "She'll never forget what they did to her.

"They tied her up and treated her worse than a dog."

The Daily Mail reported that Shannon was taken off the child protection register on the orders of social services' managers despite warnings from social workers.

According to the newspaper, the social services department at Kirklees Council was under pressure to meet an Ofsted target to reduce the length of time children were kept on the list.

The local authority announced it was commissioning an independent Serious Case Review into the contacts all agencies had with Shannon's family in Dewsbury, including social services, before she vanished in February.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf