Shannon 'frightened and crying' when found

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The Independent Online

One of the police officers who found Shannon Matthews told her mother's trial today that the little girl was frightened and crying when she emerged from the bed where she was hidden.

Dc Paul Kettlewell told a jury at Leeds Crown Court that they were searching Michael Donovan's flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, when they heard a child's voice.

He said the voice said: "Stop it, you're frightening me."

The officer went on: "Then I went into the bedroom. My colleague turned towards me and, as I was beginning to think perhaps the voice came from inside the bed, there was a noise inside the bed as a small girl started to emerge."

He described how other officers passed the nine-year-old to him.

He told the court: "She was frightened and she was crying."

Donovan, 40, and Shannon's mother Karen Matthews, 33, both deny kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

Dc Kettlewell described how officers forced their way into the flat after no-one answered the door but neighbours assured them Donovan was inside.



Dc Kettlewell said he entered the flat with four officers after forcing entry through two doors.

He said he made a brief search of the property and initially thought the flat was empty until he heard a child's voice coming from the bedroom.

"I didn't go into the room until I heard a child's voice from in the room," he told the court.

Dc Kettlewell said he went into the bedroom, where two of his colleagues were standing by what he described as a "perfectly normal double bed".

He said he thought the room was empty until he saw a young girl begin to "extricate herself" from the bed base.

Dc Kettlewell said the two other officers in the room helped the girl out of the bed and handed her to him.

He told the jury he then carried her down the stairs and out of the flat to a police car.

Julian Goose QC, prosecuting, asked Dc Kettlewell: "Did you ask the little girl, we now know as Shannon, where Mike was? Did she say 'Mike's where I was, he's under the bed'?"

Dc Kettlewell answered: "That's correct."

He said he then phoned his colleagues to tell them what Shannon had told him.



Another officer, Pc Ian Mosley, told the jury it was "quite surreal" when Shannon emerged from the bed.

He said he was lifting the bed when the little girl "began to pull herself out of the other side of the bed".

The policeman said he handed her over to his colleague and then went to investigate a thud he heard from above him.

Pc Mosley said he looked into the loft and "there was a beam and it had some kind of rope on it".

The officer told the court he then had to return to the bedroom when he heard his colleague saying: "Stop resisting, stop fighting."

Pc Mosley described the moment they found the girl.

He said: "It was quite surreal, sir. We were not expecting to find Shannon."

In cross-examination, Pc Mosley denied that police had treated Donovan in a rough manner when they found him in the bedroom.

Alan Conrad QC, for Donovan, said to Pc Mosley: "A number of you banged his head against the floor, another officer kneeled on his thigh, all the time shouting at him 'Now we've got you, you bastard'.

"On the way out, his head was banged against the wall, wasn't it?"

Pc Mosley replied: "No, sir."

Mr Conrad suggested that the officers involved let their emotions get the better of them and were hostile towards Donovan.

He said to Pc Mosley: "I suggest he became the focus of hostility by police at that time. The man who was responsible for kidnapping and keeping Shannon in that flat, that's how you perceived it?"

Pc Mosley denied the suggestions.





Another officer, Pc Matthew Troake, told the jury that Donovan said to him: "Get Karen down here, we've got a plan" in the police van after his arrest.

The officer said Donovan went on: "We're sharing the money - £50,000."

Pc Troake described how he had earlier found Donovan in the bed after Shannon had been taken from the bedroom.

He said: "I looked down into the hole where she'd come from and I saw a man, who I now know to be Michael Donovan, looking back at me.

"He was laid facing me in a foetal position."

Pc Troake said he arrested Donovan and told him to come out but he did not respond.

After Donovan again failed to move or respond, he lifted the bed and pulled him out.

The officer told the jury: "I do remember he was screaming at the time."

He said Donovan tried to bite another officer.

Pc Troake said Donovan continued to struggle after he was handcuffed and removed.

He said he was banging his head on the wall as they took him down the narrow staircase.

The officer said the defendant also refused to walk to the van and had to be carried.





Pc Troake told the court that Shannon told officers "I'm Shannon" when she came out of the bed.

Later, the jury were shown a video of Donovan in the custody suite at Halifax police station.

Donovan, wearing a white shirt and black trousers, was brought into the station with his hands cuffed behind his back.

He appeared to be struggling to walk and was supported between two police officers.

Donovan told staff at the station that he could not stand, and he sat on a seat near the counter.

He later told staff that he suffered from dystonia and was experiencing a muscle spasm.

He also said he suffered from depression and was on medication for his illnesses.

While the video was played to the court, Donovan, wearing purple clothing, sat in the dock staring at the floor.

A security guard sat between him and Matthews, who watched the clip with her arms folded throughout.