Shannon's mother denies telling 'blatant lies'

The mother of Shannon Matthews today denied telling "blatant lies" to a jury as she resumed giving evidence at her trial.

Karen Matthews stepped into the witness box at Leeds Crown Court for a second day.

She began sobbing almost immediately as she was cross-examined by Alan Conrad QC, who is representing her co-accused Michael Donovan.

Mr Conrad said to her: "You're telling blatant lies to this jury, aren't you?"

She replied: "No".

Matthews wiped away more 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.

Matthews, 33, and Donovan, 40, are accused of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

Both deny the charges.

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

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

Mr Conrad asked Matthews why she told police in her interviews that she had asked Donovan to pick Shannon up from school.

Matthews said: "I didn't ask him to pick her up from school. I was confused what I was saying."

Matthews also told the court her partner Craig Meehan had told her to say this to the police.

Mr Conrad asked the defendant: "Why didn't you say to police 'Craig's put pressure on me to say these things'?"

Matthews replied: "Because I was scared of Craig."

She continued: "If he had found me he would have got me."

Mr Conrad accused Matthews of lying to the police throughout her interviews.

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

Matthews replied: "No."

Matthews said she did not want to pose for photographs with Mr Meehan holding missing person posters with Shannon's picture on.

When asked who made her do it, she said: "Craig and the rest of his family."

Matthews confirmed to the jury she went out shopping on the night Shannon went missing.

She said she went to help buy a satellite navigation system for her next door neighbour Neil Hyett, and also went to a local supermarket.

Matthews said it was Mr Hyett's wife, Amanda's, idea to go shopping for the sat-nav.

Mr Conrad said to her: "What were you doing going to find a sat-nav for Neil that night Shannon was missing?"

She said: "At the time Amanda told me it might be a good idea to go there and see if I could see anything of Shannon."

Mr Conrad asked her about going to the supermarket to buy beer and other goods.

Matthews said: "I didn't buy beer."

She said she bought "things that I needed".

Mr Conrad said: "While your little girl's missing?"

She said: "I needed to buy some food for the other kids as well."

Cross-examining Matthews, prosecutor Julian Goose QC accused the defendant of telling five different versions of what happened to Shannon.

Mr Goose said: "I suggest to you, Miss Matthews, that if you were the truthful victim of your daughter being taken away without your knowledge there's only one version, isn't there?"

He continued: "And you come back now to saying 'I didn't know what was going on, it was everyone else'."

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

Mr Goose said: "You reported her missing, you gave every impression of being a concerned and honest mother who was beside herself at the missing daughter she loved so much. That was you, wasn't it?"

Matthews replied: "Yes."

Mr Goose continued: "And that's the account you're trying to come back to now, isn't it?"

Matthews said: "I love my kids to bits."

Mr Goose asked the defendant: "It's only Shannon that you seemed to try to get rid of?

"It's only Shannon you used in this wicked deception?"

Matthews answered: "I didn't use her."

Mr Goose asked Matthews why she was crying.

She replied: "Because I'm getting blamed for something I haven't done."

Matthews then told the jury she did not admit to anything before she was arrested in a car by Detective Constable Christine Freeman in April 6.

Mr Goose put it to her that in the car she agreed with a theory put forward by her friend Natalie Brown that she had asked Donovan to take Shannon.

He said these comments were heard by Mrs Brown, another friend in the car, Julie Bushby and Det Con Freeman.

Matthews said: "I didn't say anything like that to them."

Mr Goose then asked her why she thought she was arrested if she said nothing along these lines.

She said: "Don't know."

The prosecutor said: "Did she do it just for the fun of it or did something come from your mouth?"

Matthews replied: "I was never involved in any of this."

Mr Goose said Matthews changed her story during one police interview, from saying she didn't know where Shannon was, to saying: "I did ask him to take Shannon for a while."

The prosecutor said: "They can't both be true."

Matthews replied: "I was confused about what I was saying."

Mr Goose asked: "What were you confused about?"

"Everything," Matthews answered.

Mr Goose said: "Where's the confusion? One of these things is obviously a lie."

Mr Goose asked Matthews why she chose Shannon and not one of her other children.

Matthews replied: "I didn't choose her."

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