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The Editorial

Root of all our evils?

At the beginning of December, Michael Donovan and Karen Matthews were convicted at Leeds Crown Court of kidnapping and falsely imprisoning Karen Matthews’ daughter Shannon at Donovan’s flat a mile or so from her home in Dewsbury.

John Benton

The search for Shannon had cost £3.2 million and many people kindly volunteered their time in looking. Donovan later told the police that he planned to release Shannon and to pretend to have found her, so claiming the £50,000 reward money which he would later share with Shannon’s mother. The idea for this scam seems to have had two sources. First, the pair had seen the media interest and reward money offered in the case of Madeleine McCann who disappeared in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007. Second, an identical plot had featured in an episode of the Channel 4 series Shameless, which is set on a sink estate in Manchester.