THE mother of Shannon Matthews has been arrested.

Police today confirmed a 32-year-old woman had been held in connection with the huge inquiry into the nine-year-old’s disappearance.

And reports suggested it is Karen Matthews, mother of the little Dewsbury girl who was missing for 24 days.

Detectives would say only that the woman had been held on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police investigating the alleged abduction of a nine-year-old girl have arrested a 32-year-old woman in Dewsbury on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.”

There was also news that Michael Donovan – the man accused of kidnapping Shannon – had been taken to hospital after apparently slashing his wrists while on remand in Leeds Prison.


THE mother of Shannon Matthews was reported today to have been arrested in connection with the alleged kidnap of her daughter.

West Yorkshire Police would say only that a 32-year-old woman was arrested in Dewsbury last night on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and was being questioned at a West Yorkshire police station.

But reports say the woman arrested is Shannon’s mother, Karen Matthews, 32.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police investigating the alleged abduction of a nine-year-old girl have arrested a 32-year-old woman in Dewsbury on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.”

The spokesman said no further details concerning the woman’s arrest were expected to be released until lunchtime today.

The woman’s arrest comes as it was revealed that Michael Donovan, who has been charged with Shannon’s kidnap and imprisonment, slit his wrists while on remand at Leeds Prison.

Donovan, formerly known as Paul Drake, of Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, was arrested on March 14 after Shannon was found at his flat. The 39-year-old is the uncle of Shannon’s stepfather, Craig Meehan, 22.

He was in custody at the time awaiting trial, provisionally set for November at Leeds Crown Court. The incident reportedly happened on Saturday night and he was taken to hospital before being returned to prison.

A Prison Service spokesman would not confirm the details of the incident last night but said: “A prisoner from Leeds was taken to outside hospital overnight following a case of serious self-harm.

“Staff responded to the incident promptly and with great professionalism and the prisoner has now been returned to HMP Leeds.”

Shannon went missing in Dewsbury on February 19 and was discovered in the base of a bed at an address just one mile from her home, after a dramatic 24-day police search.

West Yorkshire Police mounted a huge investigation involving hundreds of officers and a team of 60 detectives in an attempt to find her.

The 32-year-old woman is the latest of several people to be questioned in relation to the alleged abduction.

Meehan himself appeared at Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court last week charged with 11 counts of possessing indecent images of children.

The 22-year-old was remanded in custody to appear again before the same court on April 11.

Meehan’s sister, Amanda Hyett, 25, who lives next door to Shannon’s mother in Moorside Road, and his mother, Alice Meehan, 49, were both arrested in connection with the alleged abduction.

The women were arrested last Thursday, the 25-year-old on suspicion of assisting an offender, and the 49-year-old on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The pair were granted bail the following day pending further inquiries.

Shannon herself does not want to return home, according to her grandparents.

The nine-year-old has had a second meeting with her mum since she was found after being missing for more than three weeks, but has not gone back to the family home at Dewsbury Moor.

Now Karen’s parents, June and Gordon Matthews, have revealed details of that meeting.

And in a separate twist, a friend of Shannon’s father, Leon Rose who lives in Huddersfield, say he may well offer her a home.

Shannon’s 10-year-old brother, Ian, is already living with him and partner, Tracey, and Leon reportedly told friends: “She’s got a good home ready and waiting here as well.”

Leon, 29, who has two other children, kept in contact with Shannon after splitting with Karen before his daughter was born. She has stayed with him at his home in Kirkburton.

He spent many hours searching for Shannon after she vanished.

One friend revealed: “All these twists and turns have been shocking for Leon, but he’s staying strong for his children living with him and for Shannon.

“He’s had the anguish of searching for his lost daughter, then the relief at her being found alive, now followed by the worry about his little girl’s future.”

It has emerged that Shannon had a three-hour visit with her mum, Karen, on Wednesday and the following morning police contacted Karen’s mother and father, June and Gordon Matthews.

June revealed: “They told us that during the meeting both Karen and Shannon seemed quite happy, but Karen broke down when it was time for Shannon to leave and begged her to come home.

“They told us Shannon said, ‘No. I've got a pussycat. I love my pussycat. It follows me round and sleeps in my bed’.

“That must have been devastating for Karen, but it is good news that Shannon is so happy.”