Tuesday 17 July 2018

'I am not Britain's worst mum', says mother jailed for kidnapping her daughter for profit

Uncomfortable questions: Karen Matthews with her daughter’s favourite teddy during an appeal for her safe return in 2008
Uncomfortable questions: Karen Matthews with her daughter’s favourite teddy during an appeal for her safe return in 2008
A serious case review into the role agencies played in the life of abducted schoolgirl Shannon Matthews up until she was kidnapped with the help of her own mother Karen is to be published

Kyle Ewald

A mother who was convicted of kidnapping her own daughter in an attempt to profit from her disappearance broke her ten-year silence on the scandal, saying she is not “Britain’s worst mum”.

Karen Matthews, (43), was sentenced to prison 10 years ago after being found guilty of kidnapping and falsely imprisoning her daughter, Shannon Matthews.

“I am not Britain’s worst mum. I didn’t kill anybody,” she told the Mirror.

In 2008, Shannon was kept by her mother and co-accused Michael Donovan in Donovan’s flat where she was drugged and imprisoned as part of a plan concocted by the pair to claim £50,000 in reward money.

A serious case review into the role agencies played in the life of abducted schoolgirl Shannon Matthews up until she was kidnapped with the help of her own mother Karen is to be published
A serious case review into the role agencies played in the life of abducted schoolgirl Shannon Matthews up until she was kidnapped with the help of her own mother Karen is to be published

Shannon was missing for 24 days before she was found in the base of a divan bed in Donovan’s home. Her case set off the biggest search operation in the UK since the Yorkshire Ripper, involving 250 officers and costing £3.2 million.

Matthews insists she knew nothing of the plot to kidnap her daughter and said she wants to take a lie detector to prove her innocence: “From the start I didn’t know where she was. Others were involved. I didn’t have a clue.

“You can’t kidnap your own child. I know the truth and I wasn’t involved in it. I still have nightmares thinking that it’s all going to happen again.”

Matthews served four years of her eight year sentence, and said her prison experience made her fear for her own life: “I panicked. They were banging on my cell door saying, ‘Come out here, you dirty n***e.’ Prison made me weaker. I don’t feel like the same person any more. I was beaten up inside because of who I was.

“Once they threw a snowball with a rock in it at me and other times I was punched. I didn’t say anything, I was too scared.”

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