Shannon's stepfather held in indecent images inquiry

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who was found safe and well last month after being missing from home for more than three weeks, have arrested her stepfather on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

Craig Meehan, a 22-year-old fishmonger, was arrested shortly before 9am yesterday at the home he shares with Shannon's mother, Karen, and four of her children, in Moorside Road, Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire.

After he was taken to a police station for questioning plainclothes detectives were seen leaving the house with bags. Ms Matthews was said to be in at the time of the arrest but later took her children to a friend's house before going on a pre-arranged community trip.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "During inquiries by the Shannon Matthews investigation team, the contents of a number of computers have been examined. As a result of this work, police have today arrested a 22-year-old man from the Dewsbury Moor area on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children. He is currently being questioned at a West Yorkshire police station."

Police sources have stressed that the images are not of Shannon or any of her siblings who live in the house with Mr Meehan.

Shannon was found on 14 March, 24 days after she disappeared on 19 February, in the drawer of a divan bed at a small flat in Batley Carr, just a mile from her home. Police arrested Mick Donovan, a 39-year-old computer programmer, in connection with her disappearance and later charged him with kidnap and false imprisonment.

It was also revealed that he is an uncle of Mr Meehan. Mr Donovan, also known as Paul Drake, is awaiting trial at Leeds Crown Court.

Shannon, meanwhile, has not returned home since her ordeal ended. She was initially the subject of an emergency police protection order, but that has since been lifted and she had been staying with a foster family while the police continue to question her.

Neighbours on Moorside Road spoke of their shock after Mr Meehan's arrest. Peter Brown, said: "We didn't expect this at all. We thought the next time we would see the media would be when Shannon came home to her family."

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