Tell-tale lies of Shannon’s mum exposed in TV documentary

The mother of Shannon Matthews has become convinced by her own lies, one of the women she first confessed to revealed today.

Karen Matthews (33) was jailed for eight years at Leeds Crown Court in January after she was found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

A major search was launched when her nine-year-old daughter vanished in February last year as she walked home from school near her home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorks.

She was found 24 days later less than a mile from her home, hidden in the base of a divan bed in the flat of Matthews’ former partner’s uncle, Michael Donovan. Matthews maintained a constant presence in the media as police worked to find Shannon, who went missing less than a year after the case of Madeleine McCann hit the headlines.

But a documentary analysing how body language gives away criminals suggested Matthews showed numerous signs of her guilt. When even her friends became suspicious, they confronted her, prompting a confession and her immediate arrest.

Julie Bushby, who led the community campaign to find Shannon, said she felt “used and abused” when she discovered Matthews was involved in the disappearance.

She said that as she and another neighbour sat in the back of a car listening to Matthews admitting she had known where her daughter was all along, Matthews was “sobbing and they weren’t crocodile tears, they were proper tears, they was proper tears.”

Matthews went on to deny the charges throughout the trial and on a recent visit to her in prison, Ms Bushby told the programme Tears, Lies and Videotape she asked her why she did it.

“And she just glared at me actually and then says ‘I didn’t do it’,” she said. “She’s adamant she’s totally innocent, absolutely adamant. But I think she’s lied to herself that much that I think she convinced herself. But it was worth a try.”

The documentary hears from criminal experts who examine how webs of deceit unravel in the public eye, with tell-tale signs picked up during press conferences and TV coverage.

Professor Paul Ekman, the world’s leading criminal body language expert, said during Matthews’ plea for Shannon to come home her shoulder went up twice in a row,

“It’s like a slip of the tongue,” he said. “This is a gestural slip, she doesn’t know she’s doing it. Every time we have seen it, and we have seen it in many situations, the person has always been lying.”

Perhaps inspired by the moving shots of Kate McCann, whose daughter disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal, clutching Madeleine’s favourite toy, Matthews posed for pictures holding Shannon’s teddy bear.

But, along with bizarre comments that did not fit with natural expectations of how a distressed mother should behave, the action was exposed as fake.

Professor David Canter, the UK’s leading forensic psychologist, said: “She doesn’t know quite what to do with it – it’s totally different from the way Kate McCann carried the teddy everywhere with her as some sort of reassurance of her daughter.”

The tendency of Matthews’ lips to upturn betrayed her apparent enjoyment of the attention received as a result of the situation

“If you’re an anguished mother we wouldn’t expect that you’d be smiling,” said Prof Ekman. “She’s getting a kick out of being able to pull the wool over the eyes of the community and the police because she thinks this whole plot is going to succeed.”

Detectives and reporters add their thoughts on criminals’ attempts to hide the truth in the documentary.

Ian Huntley’s media performance 10 days after murdering schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002 comes under scrutiny, as well as the 1996 press conference and unravelling of the "road rage" story given by former glamour model Tracie Andrews.

* Tears, Lies and Videotape will be screened on ITV1 tonight at 9pm

* This article is from the Belfast Telegraph

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen