Timewatch: How the Shannon Matthews drama REALLY unfolded

Karen Matthews
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HUNCHED over, his voice barely audible, Michael Donovan cut a sorry figure on the witness stand at Leeds Crown Court.

His own QC, Alan Conrad, had called him a “pathetic inadequate” who was “vulnerable, unsophisticated and weak in body and mind”.

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

He was also, said detectives, “an accomplished actor and liar”.

Donovan it was who, with Karen Matthews, kidnapped and imprisoned Matthews’ daughter, Shannon, in the West Yorkshire town of Dewsbury, nine years ago.

The callous mother-daughter betrayal, and the general can of worms opened up by the police investigation, cast Dewsbury as the very manifestation of what had gone wrong with working-class Britain at the turn of the 21st century.

The cruel confidence trick perpetrated on the nation, so soon after the all-too-real disappearance of Madeleine McCann, seized the popular consciousness, as it has all over again, with the unhappy conclusion of BBC1’s dramatised version of the Shannon Matthew case.

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

Here, in archive web stories and pages from The Yorkshire Post in 2009, is how the real drama unfolded...

Timeline: How Shannon’s story unfolded

She wept for the cameras but laughed behind closed doors

Karen Matthews: I miss sex and shopping but not the kids

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

Background: Shannon Matthews - the little girl drugged and kept prisoner by her own mother

Shannon Matthews Inquiry: ‘Neglectful and chaotic’ life for abduction girl

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

How The Yorkshire Post covered the discovery of Shannon Matthews and the conviction of her kidnappers

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