Shannon Matthews: Man behind kidnapping plot dies

Shannon Matthews

Michael Donovan organized the disappearance of Shannon Matthews.

Written by Alex Moss and David Spereall Free English version: Authored by Alex Moss and David Spereall

Shannon Matthews - Figure 1
Photo BBC News

The individual responsible for a fraudulent kidnapping scheme regarding a young girl from West Yorkshire named Shannon Matthews has passed away at 54 years old.

In February 2008, Michael Donovan and Karen Matthews, who is Shannon's mother, plotted a plan to make it seem like Shannon, who was only nine years old at the time, had vanished. This was all part of their scheme to receive a reward of £50,000.

After a 24-day search, Shannon was discovered inside a bed drawer located a short distance away from her residence in Dewsbury Moor.

Matthews and Donovan were incarcerated for the crimes of abduction, unlawful detention, and obstructing the legal process.

According to a representative from West Yorkshire Police, they received a report on Tuesday 16 April regarding the passing of a man who was receiving medical care at a hospital located in the Steeton region.

The passing is not considered doubtful and an investigation will be carried out on behalf of the coroner.

According to reports from the Press Association, Donovan passed away after collapsing at a medical facility that caters to individuals with mental health concerns.

The image used in this blog is from the West Yorkshire Police.

It took authorities 24 days to locate Shannon Matthews.

On the 19th of February, Shannon was reported missing while walking back home, leading West Yorkshire Police to conduct one of their major search operations.

As the search widened, involving over 300 police officers, the mother made an emotional request.

After a period of time, the police located Shannon inside Donovan's apartment in Batley Carr, which is situated nearby, on the 14th of March.

At the trial in Leeds Crown Court, the prosecution stated that Donovan used drugs to keep Shannon captive in his home. The reason behind their plan was to receive the monetary reward, which Donovan and Matthews had discussed.

Each of the two individuals received a prison sentence of eight years.

Upon receiving their sentencing verdict, the honorable judge known as Mr. Justice McCombie expressed his disgust towards Donovan and Matthews and labeled their actions as "despicable".

He said that he couldn't imagine how you were able to subject this young girl to the hardship that you caused her.

The judge implied that the plot might have had accomplices since the two individuals lacked intelligence. Nevertheless, law enforcement officials stated that there was no proof to accuse anyone else.

The section of the blog is written in complex English and will be simplified into free English using different words. The blog portion is using intricate language and will be made easier to understand by using alternate vocabulary choices.

Karen Matthews was sentenced to prison for her involvement in a fake kidnapping scheme.

Shannon's vanishing prompted a large-scale endeavor across the country to locate her. Law enforcement's appeals were spread extensively and volunteers from all corners of the Dewsbury community participated in the quest.

In 2017, the BBC created a mini-series named The Moorside, featuring Sheridan Smith, which portrayed this event in a dramatic manner.

It was later disclosed that the expenses of the police investigation were £3.2 million.

The source of the picture is the police department in West Yorkshire.

Shannon was trapped inside the bed frame while at Michael Donovan's apartment.

It was disclosed in court that Donovan and Matthews had strategized to liberate Shannon at Dewsbury Market and subsequently "discover" her to earn the reward.

However, the plan was thwarted when Shannon, who had been confined by a leash that was made at home during her confinement, was discovered concealed inside the base of a bed frame at Donovan's residence.

During the hearing where the pair was being sentenced, it was revealed that although Shannon had not sustained any physical injuries during the abduction, she had been troubled by recurring nightmares after the incident.

The main detective in charge of the investigation for the police, named Det Supt Andy Brennan, characterized Matthews as being "completely wicked."

Journalist Richard Edwards closely followed the story starting from the initial report of Shannon's disappearance until the conviction of Donovan and Matthews and even further. The BBC reporter shares his insights on what he remembers most about the quest to find Shannon.

The atmosphere at the Moorside estate was filled with determination on the cold day that Shannon's disappearance was confirmed.

The persistence to unite - despite differences in origins or having previous disagreements - for the purpose of rescuing a community member and ensuring their safety.

They prioritized the cause above their own families, and contributed whatever funds they could gather towards it, despite the lack of wealth on the estate.

After the volunteers were instructed to let the police handle the physical search, they established a successful and well-organized hunt for Shannon. They followed a shift schedule to distribute leaflets and posters, maintained a constant supply of hot tea at the community center, and offered emotional support to one another when it seemed like all leads had run out.

After it was verified that the solution was present in the Moorside neighborhood, the residents once again stepped up to help.

Retaliation through inexpensive means was not considered. Instead, an acknowledgement was made, regardless of how it occurred, that Shannon had returned home unharmed. People stood tall in solidarity.

They still stay like that until now.

Donovan got out of jail in 2012, even though he was only halfway through his punishment. However, it's said that he was sent back to prison for breaking his parole conditions at Leeds Market that same year.

The Ministry of Justice informed the BBC earlier this week that they terminated their association with Donovan back in 2016, after he served his sentence for kidnapping Shannon.

The picture is courtesy of Christopher Furlong.

. Shannon spent her childhood living with her mother and siblings in Dewsbury.

After serving half of her sentence in 2012, Matthews was granted a fresh identity and relocated from West Yorkshire.

The rest of Shannon and Matthews' offspring were put into the care of others.

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