Mother asked why she 'chose' Shannon

Accused says some of the things she told police were because she was 'confused'
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The Independent Online

The mother of Shannon Matthews was asked yesterday why she "chose" her nine-year-old daughter for an alleged false kidnap plot.

In the trial at Leeds Crown Court, Karen Matthews was asked by the prosecution why she picked Shannon over her other children. Ms Matthews, who denied telling "blatant lies", replied: "I didn't choose her."

Ms Matthews, 33, and Michael Donovan, 40, are accused of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. Both deny the charges.

The court has heard how Shannon was found in Mr Donovan's flat 24 days after she went missing from her home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

The prosecution allege Mr Donovan kept her drugged and imprisoned in his flat as part of a plan he and Ms Matthews had to claim £50,000 in reward money

Mr Donovan claims Ms Matthews told him to keep Shannon and says he did so because she threatened him and he was frightened. Ms Matthews says she was not in on the plot.

The jury heard Ms Matthews being accused of telling five different versions of what happened to Shannon. Cross-examining her, Alan Conrad QC, who is representing Mr Donovan, said to her: "You're telling blatant lies to this jury, aren't you?" She replied: "No". Ms Matthews wiped away tears as Mr Conrad went in detail through interviews she gave the police after she was arrested over the disappearance of her daughter in February.

Mr Conrad asked Ms Matthews why she told police in her interviews that she had asked Mr Donovan to pick Shannon up from school. She said: "I didn't ask him to pick her up from school. I was confused what I was saying."

Mr Conrad said: "You were leading the police round the houses, weren't you? Telling them lie after lie?"

Ms Matthews replied: "No," and said she had told the police certain things because she was scared of her then partner, Craig Meehan.

The court heard that the night Shannon went missing, her mother went shopping for a SatNav system for a neighbour and to the supermarket.

When asked why she had done that while her daughter was missing, she replied that she needed to get food for her other children.

Julian Goose QC, for the prosecution, later accused her of telling five different versions of what happened to Shannon. He said: "I suggest that if you were the truthful victim of your daughter being taken away without your knowledge there's only one version, isn't there? And you come back now to saying 'I didn't know what was going on, it was everyone else'."

Ms Matthews replied: "I didn't have nothing to do with it."

The trial continues.