Anorak News | Shannon Matthews: The McCanns, A Shameless Scam And Paul Donovan

Shannon Matthews: The McCanns, A Shameless Scam And Paul Donovan

by | 8th, April 2008

karen-matthews-arrested.jpgMADDYWATCH – Anorak’s at-a-glance guide to press coverage of Shannon Matthews


A scam? Who would have thought it?

The mum of Shannon Matthews has allegedy confessed that her daughter’s abduction was just a Shameless scam.

Sobbing Karen Matthews, 32, was arrested on suspicion of perverting justice after reportedly telling a woman detective she had known where Shannon was all along.

Shameless? Ashamed?

In an episode of the Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless, screened just four weeks before Shannon vanished, family head Frank Gallagher’s teenage daughter Debbie staged the fake kidnap of her younger brother Liam in a bid to pocket a £500,000 ransom.

“Missing” Liam – played by Johnny Bennett, nine, – was hidden by Debbie (Rebecca Ryan, 16) at a pal’s home just down the road.

Missing children are a form of entertainment.


The mother of kidnap girl Shannon Matthews has allegedly told police: “I knew where she was, right from day one.”

And the McCanns..?

A spokesman for the McCanns confirmed they had received approaches from “people purporting to be members of Shannon’s family” for donations from the Find Madeleine Fund, but said it had been decided not to get involved.

But the McCanns did get involved.

Gerry and Kate were “deeply concerned” at the plight of Shannon’s family. Kate, 39, said: “My heart goes out to them. We always hoped and prayed that no other family would have to suffer like we have.”

And singer Leona Lewis seized the moment to make an appeal.

THE SUN: “’Family’ beg from McCanns”

Kate and Gerry McCann got a string of emails and letters demanding financial help to find Shannon, nine. One man even turned up on their doorstep claiming he represented her family.

Karen Matthews has seven children by five men. Which man was it who turned up?

A source close to the couple said: “Kate and Gerry were getting ready to go to church. He opened the door to find this man who basically demanded cash.

“Gerry was stunned. It was as if he thought he was just going to pull out a cheque book.

“When he explained that the fund is governed by trustees who approve all expenditure, the man got annoyed and said, ‘But I’ve driven all the way from Dewsbury.’

“Kate and Gerry found it quite disturbing. They didn’t even know if these people were who they said they were, and what the cash would actually be used for.”

DAILY MAIL: “Did Shannon’s mother invent kidnap to make money… and base it on TV drama Shameless?”


It was revealed that Miss Matthews had wanted to leave 22-year-old fishmonger Craig Meehan and had spoken to his uncle, Michael Donovan, 39, who offered her a place to stay. She has denied having an affair with Donovan.

When he allegedly picked up Shannon on February 19, Miss Matthews is said to have “bottled it” and reported Shannon missing instead.

Which, if true, rather put Mr Donovan in an awkward position? But he did, allegedly, have plenty of room, a compact bedroom for Shannon – a room in an actual divan bed

A source told the Daily Mail: “Her friends started asking her about apparent inconsistencies in her story. They asked her several questions, hoping she would dispel the rumours.
“Then, one of her friends said she had had enough and wanted to know what really happened. She put it to her that she knew right from the very start where Shannon was and who she was with.

“At that moment Karen apparently broke down in tears and was shaking uncontrollably.”

DAILY TELEGRAPH: “Shannon Matthews’ mother ‘may have copied TV kidnap plot’”

The Daily Telegraph understands that officers are examining alleged similarities between Shannon’s disappearance and a storyline from the Channel 4 drama series Shameless shown in the month before the nine-year-old vanished.

In it, the teenage daughter of Frank Gallagher, the head of a dysfunctional family, staged the fake kidnap of his youngest son, Liam, in an attempt to obtain a £500,000 ransom. All along, Liam was hidden a few doors away with a friend of his sister.

A missing child. Money. Reward. A kind of fame? A TV entertainment show or a TV news else?

It has emerged that police are examining allegations that people claiming to be connected to Shannon’s family asked for donations from the fund set up to find Madeleine McCann, the four-year-old who vanished from a Portuguese holiday apartment last May. A spokesman for her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, said they had received “a number of approaches” for aid from the Find Madeleine Fund from purported representatives of the Matthews family.

THE TIMES: “Karen Matthews ‘told friends she knew where Shannon was from start’”

Ms Matthews is said to have told her friends that as the hours after her daughter’s disappearance turned into days, “everything got out of control and she didn’t know how to stop it” because she was too ashamed to tell the truth.

Mr Donovan, a former computer programmer, is understood to have maintained from the day of his arrest that other members of Shannon’s family, including the girl’s mother, had known that she was with him.

THE INDEPENDENT: “Shannon’s mother arrested as abduction inquiry widens”

Ms Matthews’ cousin, Vicky Saunders, said the arrest had come as a shock to the community. “I was just shocked. I can’t believe it myself,” she said. “I was with Karen when Shannon first went missing, I went and helped, she was in a state.”

Ms Saunders described Ms Matthews as a loving mother. “She loves all her kids no matter what. It’s just upsetting,” she said.

She added that the community was “sticking together like we did when she went missing.” “Everybody is just all shocked and can’t believe it. I’m still there for all the family and the kids,” she said. “She knows I’m always here for her, being a cousin of hers. Unless anyone’s been charged or proven I’m still sticking by everybody. We’re still all friends on this street.”

Posted: 8th, April 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Madeleine McCann, Tabloids Comments (202) | TrackBack | Permalink