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
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing