Shannon Matthews’ kidnapper, who hid schoolgirl under bed, dies

todayApril 17, 2024 6

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Shannon Matthews’ kidnapper, who hid schoolgirl under bed, dies

A man who was jailed for his involvement in the abduction of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews has died.

Michael Donovan became notorious in 2008 after the schoolgirl was found alive in his flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, 24 days after she was reported missing from her home in nearby Dewsbury.

The 54-year-old died on Tuesday after collapsing at The Three Valleys Hospital, a mental health unit in Keighley, West Yorkshire, according to The Sun.

The paper reported that Donovan, who was released from prison in 2012, had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

He was jailed in early 2009 alongside Shannon’s mother, Karen Matthews, after the pair had planned the disappearance in an attempt to claim a £50,000 cash reward offered at the time by a national newspaper.

Donovan was the uncle of Shannon’s stepfather, Craig Meehan.

Shannon, who is now 25, was found in Donovan’s flat in Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, in the base of a divan bed.

A base of a bed shown as evidence by the prosecution in the trial. Pic: PA

A base of a bed shown as evidence by the prosecution in the trial. Pic: PA

She had been drugged and forced to adhere to a strict list of rules while being held captive.

Leeds Crown Court was told at the time that the ordeal had left Shannon “disturbed and traumatised” and suffering nightmares.

The search for the schoolgirl cost West Yorkshire Police an estimated £3.2m and was the largest inquiry in the force’s history since the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

Residents of Dewsbury Moor tear up the missing girl posters and hold a street party to celebrate the news that Shannon Matthews was reported to be found today.

Residents of Dewsbury celebrated after Shannon was found alive. Pic: PA

Donovan and Matthews were jailed for eight years in January 2009 after being found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

During sentencing, Mr Justice McCombe suggested other people may have been involved in the plot.

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However, police said the case was closed and there was no evidence to bring any more charges.

West Yorkshire Police said on Wednesday: “Police were contacted on Tuesday 16 April and made aware of the death of a man in hospital in the Steeton area.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and inquiries will be conducted on behalf of the coroner.”

The group which runs The Three Valleys Hospital declined to comment.

Written by: Newsroom

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