Anorak News | Shannon Matthews: No Portuguese Police, Class And Trial By Media

Shannon Matthews: No Portuguese Police, Class And Trial By Media

by | 13th, March 2008

shannon-matthews-new.jpgSHANNON Watch – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Shannon Matthews

THE SUN: “How could she just vanish?”

The absence of any clues is not for the want of looking. In contrast to the bungling by Portuguese police in the early days of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, the hunt for Shannon by West Yorkshire police has been textbook.

Good news. The British police are not Portuguese. They have not found Madeleine McCann. The British police have not found Shannon Matthews. Any idea what has happened to Shannon?

Yet someone MUST know something. And fingers have been pointed.


Nearly 1,400 convicted sex criminals live within 25 miles of Shannon’s home and police will be quizzing them all.

And they are the ones the Sun knows of. Are the all paedophiles? The Sun does not say.

Even more attention has focused on Shannon’s fractured and extended family, some of whom have made clear their dislike of stepdad Craig.

Fact: “Mum Karen has seven children by five different men.”

Sons Tony, 11, and Cameron, five, and daughter Courtney, two, live, like Shannon, with her and Craig at their scruffy council semi. Her other sons Ian, ten, and Daniel, seven, and daughter Kelly, six, live with their fathers. Leon Rose, 29, Shannon’s father, lives ten miles away in the village of Kirkburton, near Huddersfield.

Facts. And whispers:

Craig adds: “Basically, it’s all lies. If it was true, why didn’t they come out a couple of days after Shannon went missing and say it? It has taken them three weeks to come out with some rubbish about that.” Asked if he had ever “laid a finger on” Shannon, he said: “No – haven’t done, never will.”

He adds: “All I am focusing on is finding Shannon. Even her real dad has backed me up. He’s even said Shannon looks up to me. We’ve all been checked out and we’re in the clear.”

Watching the parents. Read all about it.


Shannon’s dad Leon Rose, 29, from nearby Huddersfield, said: “No-one can imagine the agonies we are going through.”

No one?

DAILY MIRROR: “’Someone took her to get at me’ – MUM KAREN YESTERDAY”


Says “the mother-of-seven”: “The police say sometimes to prepare for the worse – but we are not going to be doing that at the moment because we know she’s out there somewhere.”

Karen again denied suggestions made by relatives that Shannon’s stepdad, Craig Meehan, 22, had hit her daughter. She said: “No, he hasn’t never touched her – ever. I wouldn’t be with a man who who hit me kids. That’s one thing I wouldn’t do is put my kids in danger. That’s a lie. I don’t know why my parents are saying this.”

DAILY RECORD: “They Took Shannon Simply To Hurt Me”

THE mother of missing Shannon Matthews yesterday revealed her shocking theory behind the youngster’s disappearance.

THE GUARDIAN: “Someone took Shannon to hurt me, says mother of missing girl”

Karen Matthews said Shannon, who was last seen leaving school, had not been unhappy and said she was sure her daughter “was still out there.”

She tells the BBC: “It seems that way because there’s no trace of her at all. There’s no trace of her swimming costume, her towel or anything.”

INDEPENDENT: “Missing children and the media: The wrong kind of family?”

The case of Shannon Matthews, the missing nine-year-old from Dewsbury, has developed a cruel overtone: an unspoken suggestion that, because of their lifestyles, her family deserve not our pity but our censure. By Cahal Milmo

Campaigners yesterday said that the tone – and dwindling quantity – of the coverage devoted to the hunt for Shannon betrays an ugly double standard and class prejudice in the media and society about how Britons respond to the grief and public distress of a family going through the grim limbo of a missing child. As one newspaper columnist put it: “I wonder if our media aren’t just reacting to an unspoken mood in the country, a feeling that a woman who has seven kids by five different men and who isn’t living with any of them, must be a pretty dire mother and so must bear some of the responsibility for her missing daughter.”

Lyn Costello, co-founder of Mothers Against Murder and Aggression (Mamaa), which campaigns on behalf of victims of violence, said: “It is a truth that few people want to admit to but the amount of publicity and sympathy you get if you are the victim of a terrible crime in this country depends on your social status. The question asked of Karen Matthews about the numbers of her children and their fathers is very typical. How is that in any sense relevant to what has happened to Shannon?…

Is there a Mother For Murder And Aggression group?

Trial by the ‘Today’ programme

Excerpt from an interview by Sarah Montague with Karen Matthews on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme:

SM: It has been suggested that she could have run away because of a lot of reports… that she was unhappy?
KM: No, she was not unhappy at all, she was fine on the Tuesday morning, and the Monday she were absolutely fine.
SM: Perhaps we should explain. It’s a slightly complicated family picture you have, isn’t it? You’ve got seven children, by six fathers?
KM: Five.
SM: And four children live with you?
KM: Yeah.
SM: It has been suggested Shannon was unhappy and she had run away.
KM: She’s not the kind of girl who would run away.
SM: But have you considered if she was unhappy there?
KM: She wasn’t.
SM: Karen, you’ll know the reason I ask is because there’s been a lot of coverage, not least from … your parents and brothers, talking about how your children have a difficult relationship with Craig.
KM: No, that’s untrue.
SM: I’m quoting your parents. “We’ve never seen him, Craig, beating Shannon with our own eyes. But the kids have said it has happened. They’ve suggested Craig was hitting Shannon.”
KM: No. He hasn’t. Never ever touched her. Never. I wouldn’t be with a man who hit my kids. That’s one thing I wouldn’t do, is put my kids in danger.
SM: So when they say things like when they’ve gone round, one of the children on the stairs is crying, “I’ve asked the child what happened, and the child said ‘Craig. Punch, punch punch. He punched my belly.’ The child was shaking and crying.”
KM: That’s a lie.
SM: So why are your parents saying this?
KM: I don’t know.
SM: What do you think happened to Shannon?
KM: She’s got abducted, that’s all I can say.

THE INDEPENDENT: Janet Street-Porter: Not every mother is from Middle England”

Yesterday, Today interrogated another young mother, Karen Matthews, whose nine-year-old daughter Shannon has been missing from home in Leeds for three weeks. Mrs Matthews was asked, “So you have seven children by five fathers?” as if that somehow implied that she was a deficient parent or implicated in her daughter’s disappearance. Her distress was palpable.

Her distress at the question?

Why on earth should this woman have to discuss allegations made by her relatives about her partner of four years, a fishmonger a decade younger than her, which hinted that he might have had a difficult relationship with the missing girl?

Same reason a columnist in the Independent would write about it: human interest.

Posted: 13th, March 2008 | In: Tabloids Comments (19) | TrackBack | Permalink