What early clues were there to suggest that Shannon Matthews’ disappearance was an elaborate hoax staged by her mother Karen?
That’s what the documentary ‘Faking It: Tears of a Crime’ aims to show tonight on the Investigation Discovery channel.
The programme employs forensic and behavioural experts to spot early signs intimating that all was not as it seemed when the nine-year-old disappeared.
Shannon, from Dewsbury Moor, was reported missing on February 19, 2008.
Karen made numerous emotional TV appeals which led to a £50,000 reward for her safe return.
But the charade, intended to generate money from the publicity, fell apart when Karen confessed to a police officer.
She was discovered less than a month later at a flat in Batley Carr, which was occupied by Michael Donovan, the uncle of Craig Meehan, who was Karen’s boyfriend.
Both Karen Matthews and Donovan were subsequently charged with Shannon’s kidnap, her false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.
Both claimed they had been forced into the plot but were found guilty following a trial at Leeds Crown Court and jailed for eight years.
You can watch Faking It: Tears of a Crime tonight (9pm) on Sky 522, Virgin 170 and BT 324.