Anorak News | Shannon Matthews: Bratz, Mystic Babies And Sir Norman Bettison

Shannon Matthews: Bratz, Mystic Babies And Sir Norman Bettison

by | 18th, March 2008

shannon-m.jpgSHANNON WATCHAnorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews has been in the care of the local authority since she was found. The media had a few hours to speculate and focus on Shannon “what ifs” but now the shutters are down. The man has been charged and will appear in court today.

DAILY MAIL: “Don’t let Shannon go home because her mother’s not ‘ready’, say her grandparents”

You can always interview the family.

“We just don’t want Shannon going back to that house. She can stay with us,” said the nine-year-old’s grandfather Gordon Matthews. “I don’t think that Karen and Craig are ready to look after her properly. While all this has been happening, we had Shannon’s brother and sister staying here with us and they were both so happy – they didn’t want to go back.”

Wonder why? Let’s speculate…

He and his wife June are fearful that Shannon, who is in foster care after her 24- day abduction ordeal, could soon be back at home. Mrs Matthews, 64, added: “I have been thinking of Shannon going back to Karen. It’s just not right. Karen was a great mum before she took Craig in. Since he arrived they’ve had a terrible life.”

Craig Meehan is innocent. Why mention him?

Mr Matthews added: “Craig is like a tiny child. He’s so immature. He rings Karen all the time on the phone, literally 20 times a day.”

Maybe it’s love? Maybe Karen Matthews likes children?

“Karen is like a taxi service for him. She picks him up and drops him off everywhere. I have never liked him and I don’t want Shannon going back to her mother while he is around, you just wouldn’t want him looking after your child.”


Shannon Matthews will not return to her mum and stepdad but will be looked after by specialist carers. Police chief Sir Norman Bettison confirmed that the nine-year-old will not be going home just yet to Karen Matthews, 32, and 22-year-old Craig Meehan for the moment.

Norman Bettison. West Yorkshire’s leading copper. After listening to the grandparents, listening to Norman is the next story. Prepared to update the Wikipedia entry, sir!

Says Sir Norman B-E-T-T-I-S-O-N: “She is safe. She’s well. She’s in the place where we think that she’s safest at the moment.”

He singles out Detectives Paul Kettlewell and Nick Townsend who refused to leave when they got no answer at a flat where neighbours said they could hear a child’s footsteps. They watched the front and back entrances and called for a battering ram. They broke down the door and discovered Shannon.

Says Chief Constable Sir Norman: “I think it is amazing and I think it is a question of pride for me that they started to make inquiries of the neighbours. Given this was the 700th action they had undertaken since the start of the investigation…

“It’s been phenomenal and it’s been unprecedented [“You’ve already used ‘amazing’ sir!] and let me tell you where I’m standing it’s been entirely professional. It’s painstaking methodical work.”

Of his officers: “They’re special people, extraordinary people doing an extraordinary job.”

Wikipedia: Sir Norman Bettison the Amazing, phenomenal, extraordinary, unprecedented…

What of Shannon’s parents?

Karen and Craig had bought a Bratz Chloe doll for her homecoming but sent her a Mystic Babies toy when they realised she would not be back.

The significance of toys cannot be overstated. What can it mean?

THE SUN: “Prezzies and prayers for Shannon”

SHANNON Matthews was bought a doll by her relieved mum yesterday – hours before the man held over the nine-year-old’s kidnap was charged. Two detectives accompanied Karen, 32, and Shannon’s 22-year-old stepdad as they shopped for goodies to give the youngster after her 24-day ordeal.

What do you get Shannon?

Karen and her partner returned to their semi with a Chloe Bratz doll and Mystic Babies toy…Yesterday The Sun chipped in with MORE Bratz toys for her. We delivered a sackful of gifts to her house on behalf of our readers. They included Easter eggs for her brothers Tony, 11, Cameron, five, and sister Courtney, two.

What about the other children? And what make of Easter Egg is it? Sun readers demand to be told how they are being represented…

Grateful Karen said: “Thanks very much for the presents – they are very much appreciated.”

That’s the parents. Any news, you know. Of Sir Norman?

Sir Norman explained: “Talking to a nine-year-old is not a question of sitting them down with a pen and piece of paper. It’s been ten minutes and 15 minutes at a time while we have been building up the information – the evidence that we need in order to take this investigation further.”

Whoah, wing commander. Slow down, sir Norman. Wikipedia doesn’t write itself…

FERGUS SHANAHAN: “Shannon must not be allowed home”

“How can Shannon Matthews go back to the hell she has had to call home? How can she be allowed to live in that mad managerie of fractured relationships, bitter resentments, shouted insults and warring relations?”

Shanahan investigates. And his judgement: “The truth is that we don’t know the truth.”

Such are the facts…


It’s Sir Norman Bettison – B.E.T.T.I.S.O.N:

Sir Norman said: “The jigsaw pieces came together and gave us what we needed to give Paul and Nick the opportunity to go to an address on Friday morning. Given that this was the 700th action they had undertaken since the start of the investigation, I think it is amazing.

“It is a question of pride for me that they then made inquiries of the neighbours and they heard for the first time about the pitter-patter of the girl’s footsteps in the maisonette above them.”

THE SCOTSMAN: “Police chief praises work of officers in Shannon search”


West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison highlighted the work of detectives Paul Kettlewell and Nick Townsend in finding the missing nine-year-old as he defended the professionalism of his force.

THE GUARDIAN: “Man charged with abducting and imprisoning Shannon”

West Yorkshire’s chief constable, Sir Norman Bettison, yesterday described as “fantasists” those critics who claim to have pointed the finger at Donovan early in the huge inquiry, unaware of his detectives’ jigsaw puzzle of clues.

THE TIMES: “Michael Donovan is charged over Shannon Matthews kidnap and false imprisonment”

The chief constable said that the child, who has been under an emergency police protection order and has not yet been reunited with her mother, 32-year-old Karen Matthews, was “in safe and caring hands. Shannon is in the place where she is the safest at the moment. She is away from the flashing lenses and the glare of publicity.”

Police chief? Surely the paper means to say Sir Norman B-E-T-T-I-S-O-N…

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Michael Donovan charged with kidnapping Shannon Matthews”

Sir Norman said the three-week long investigation involved searching 3,000 houses and interviewing 6,000 people, mostly within a mile radius of Dewsbury Moor, West Yorks. He said officers had received 2,000 calls from the public “with just a hook in there about a weirdo, paedophile, living at X or living at Y”.

THE INDEPENDENT: “Shannon suspect charged with kidnapping

Police have charged Michael Donovan with the kidnap and false imprisonment of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, who was found on Friday after being missing for 24 days.

Officers had been granted an extra 24 hours to question Mr Donovan, 39, of Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, Dewsbury, and announced at 10.15pm last night that he would be charged and would appear at Dewsbury magistrates’ court this morning.

Peter Mann, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said that charges were being brought by officers from West Yorkshire police after they had carefully considered all the material in the case. He warned the media to report the case responsibly. He added: “Michael Donovan stands accused of this offence and has a right to a fair trial.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE: “News agency’s Shannon photo exclusive brings massive exposure”

Where there’s missing kids, there’s PR…

Ross Parry Agency, based in Pudsey near Leeds, acquired a photo of Michael Donovan, the suspect arrested after missing schoolgirl Shannon Matthews was found.

When reporters started asking questions, they discovered a family connection that led them to the suspect’s sister Alice Meehan, mother of Shannon’s step-father Craig Meehan. Staff at Ross Parry Agency learned that Alice’s maiden name was Drake – the same as Michael Donovan’s birth name, Paul Drake.

Reporter Liam Miller visited Mrs Meehan Friday night, a few hours after Shannon had been found, and bought the old photograph of Michael Donovan and his young nephew Craig Meehan.

It has since been used carrying the Ross Parry Agency byline on Sky and BBC News, their websites and countless other national news papers and news organisations, bringing the agency unparalleled exposure.


News editor Sam Yule said: “There was word going round that he (Donovan) was related to the Meehan family. In the run up to Friday we had spoken to a lot of the family and got some phone numbers. We ended up getting hold of Caroline who is Craig’s sister. We met both Alice and Caroline and Alice gave us the photo. It was the only one she could find.”

Sam added: “It was just good journalism, a bit of persistence. We worked very, very hard for that and it was not just one day’s work. We got to the stage where a couple of reporters were working on the story all the time. We got the picture exclusive and everybody has no alternative but to use our picture. We feel proud of ourselves.”

Will Alice and Caroline now get a share of any monies earned form such terrific exposure, or Craig Meehan whose face features in the celebrated picture?

Posted: 18th, March 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (94) | TrackBack | Permalink