Shannon's mum determined she will come home
Mar 6 2008 by Katie Campling, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
THE heartbroken mum of missing Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon Matthews has told how she is coping with the strain of her daughter vanishing.
Karen Matthews, 32, says she has barely been able to enter her daughter’s room at their Moorside Road home since the nine-year-old failed to return from school on February 19.
But she managed to go in for long enough to make sure it was tidy and clean, ready for when her daughter returns home.
Karen said: “We think she is out there somewhere and that she is going to come home. It is that thought that keeps us going.”
She described how Shannon’s brothers and sisters are handling her disappearance.
Every morning, Karen hears her youngest daughter, two-year-old Courtney, call out for Shannon from the pink bedroom the pair shared.
Karen said: “You hear her shouting for Shannon. It is heartbreaking. She doesn’t understand as much as the other kids but she is starting to realise Shannon has been gone a long time.”
She said Shannon had always loved her room. Her Dalmatian print dressing gown still hangs on the bed, her Bratz toys are stored carefully on top of a wardrobe and a collection of porcelain dolls – another favourite of Shannon’s – are on the windowsill.
She said: “We have been here five years. Shannon has always loved her room. It is her own little place and it is very important to her.
“It has seemed so empty since she has been gone, I haven’t been able to come in.”
It was Karen’s partner Craig Meehan, 22, who entered the room to search for Shannon’s favourite teddy bear, which was bought for her by his mother Alice on a family holiday in Mable-thorpe. He eventually found it tucked away in Courtney’s bunk – the toddler had been curling up with it at night as a way of remembering her sister.
Craig, a supermarket fishmonger, said: “She loves that bear. Me and Shannon have always got on well. We have a real good laugh. She likes jumping on me and trying to beat me up.”
He has spoken to The Sun newspaper, hitting back at rumours he may have had something to do with Shannon’s disappearance.
He said: “I know people start pointing fingers at family and friends when things like this happen. But I had nothing to do with Shannon’s disappearance. I am coping so-so but I have got to be strong for Karen.”
The strain of Shannon’s disappearance is also starting to show on her brothers Tony, 11, and five-year-old Cameron, who lived with her.
Karen said: “It is hard for the two boys. Tony is trying to be his normal self but you can see it is affecting him.”
The distraught mum has been visiting the base where residents are co-ordinating their efforts in the search for Shannon. She said it had helped distract her but the pain of wondering where her daughter is will not go away.
“I can’t bring myself to go out searching but I have been down at the house and it has helped, getting me out of here,” she added.
“But wherever I am, the stress is always there. I toss and turn at night, I can’t sleep properly. We think she is out there somewhere and that she is going to come home. It is that thought that keeps us going.”