Shannon 'taken on trips'

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The Independent Online

The man accused of kidnapping Shannon Matthews told police he took her on trips while officers were searching for her, Leeds Crown Court has heard. Michael Donovan, 40, from Lidgate Gardens, in Dewsbury, told police officers Shannon, nine, would sit in the back of his car with her pink coat on and hood up as he drove her to the supermarket and took her to parks.

Meanwhile, hundreds of police officers and members of the public were scouring the Dewsbury area looking for the girl. The court heard that Shannon was unaware of the huge police search and media interest as she would watch cartoons on the television. Mr Donovan told police he bought her toys and clothes during the 24 days she spent at his flat.

Mr Donovan made the disclosures in police interviews after Shannon was found by officers in the bottom of a divan bed at his flat. He said he was threatened by Shannon's mother Karen Matthews, 33, from Moorside Road, Dewsbury, who said she would set three "lads" on him if he did not agree to take Shannon to his flat and hold her until the reward money reached £50,000, the court heard.

Mr Donovan and Ms Matthews deny kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. The trial was adjourned until Monday.