Karen Matthews says ‘I’m not Britain’s worst mum’ ten years after being jailed for daughter’s kidnapping

Karen Matthews says she is not “Britain’s worst mum” (Picture: PA)

Karen Matthews insists she is not the worst mother in Britain, ten years after she was jailed for kidnapping her daughter Shannon.

The 43-year-old claimed she knew nothing of the plot to kidnap the nine-year-old in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in February 2008.

Matthews told the Mirror: “I’m not Britain’s worst mum. I didn’t kill anybody.

“Baby P’s mum and Maxine Carr don’t get the abuse that I do.

“None of it’s true. I’m on the edge. It makes me want to kill myself but I’d never do that. I’m scared I’ll die lonely and alone.”

Karen Matthews, right, was convicted of kidnapping her daughter Shannon, left (Picture: PA)

Matthews was sentenced to eight years in prison for kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice, but was released in April 2012 after serving half her sentence.

Shannon was reported missing on February 19, 2008, then found more than a month later after a huge police operation at the home of Michael Donovan, the uncle of Matthews’s boyfriend, Craig Meehan. The girl had been tied up and drugged to prevent her escaping.


Donovan was convicted along with Matthews, and Meehan – who was found to have nothing to do with the kidnapping – was later found guilty of possessing child pornography.

Matthews and Donovan had planned to split the £50,000 reward money for finding Shannon, their trial heard.

However, in her interview, Matthews claims she was made a “scapegoat”.

Matthews spent four years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping her daughter (Picture: PA)

She told the Mirror: “From the start I didn’t know where she was. Others were involved. I didn’t have a clue.

“You can’t kidnap your own child. I know the truth and I wasn’t involved in it. I still have nightmares thinking that it’s all going to happen again.

“I want to take a lie detector test to prove my innocence.”

Mother-of-seven Matthews said she has “sworn off men”, adding: “I will never get married. I don’t trust them at all.”

Karen Matthews makes an appeal using one of Shannon’s toys at the time of the kidnapping (Picture: PA)

She denied recent claims she has been taking free sandwiches from Pret a Manger and selling them to homeless people.

After her release from prison, Matthews was relocated to a town in the south of England, where she lives in a one-bedroom basement flat with her budgie, Bob.

She said she works as a volunteer in a Christian charity shop.

“I am really proud of getting a job. It makes me feel like I’ve achieved ­something for myself,” she said.

“I feel I’m not being judged when I’m there. I love my job and I love going in every time. They say I’m a good worker, one of their best and I could get a paid job in the future.

“I don’t want a man. I don’t trust them. It’s just me and the budgie now.”

After the kidnapping, Shannon was given a new identity and placed with a foster family.

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