NEWS

Shannon Matthews Estate Tours Now Offered After BBC's The Moorside

'I'll show you all the sights.'

10/02/2017 09:54 | Updated 10 February 2017

Residents living on the Moorside estate where Shannon Matthews was “abducted” from are offering paid tours of the area.

Shannon was reported missing on the evening of 19 February 2008 after she failed to return from a school swimming trip.

A month-long search ensued, culminating in the eventual discovery of the nine-year-old in the base of a divan bed at a house in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire Police/PA Archive
Shannon Matthews went missing in 2008 

Shannon’s mother Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan, the uncle of her partner Craig Meehan, were found guilty of kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Interest in the case was renewed after more than seven million people tuned in to watch The Moorside, a two-part BBC drama about the staged abduction earlier this week.

Now resourceful locals are charging £15 for excursions which take in the Matthews family home, the home of Julie Bushby (played by Sheridan Smith in The Moorside), the community centre from where she coordinated the search, Michael Donovan’s flat and the police station where Matthews was charged.

Owen Humphreys/PA Archive
Police officers guard the home of Shannon and Karen Matthews during the search for the nine-year-old in 2008 

A tour guide told The Sun: “I’ll show you all the sights. Give us £15 and I’ll take you round and show you where everyone lives.”

Admitting he had had several customers, he added: “They said they’d come over from Leeds to see the street and that. There’s been quite a few people driving up and down so we thought we’d stop folk and offer our services.”

Karen Matthew, who along with Donovan, was sentenced to eight years in prison, has complained she fears for her life since The Moorside aired.

Owen Humphreys/PA Archive
The scene at Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, where Shannon was found in a base of a divan bed

Now in her forties, she continues to insist she had nothing to do with the abduction, cryptically suggesting: “The truth’s going to come out.”  

During the period that Shannon was missing, The Sun newspaper offered a reward of £20,000 for information which would lead to her safe return, later increasing the figure to £50,000.

The plan had been to take Shannon, then release her, drive around the corner then “discover” her before claiming the £50,000 reward, a court heard.

Owen Humphreys/PA Archive
Karen Matthews was released from prison in 2012 after serving half of her eight year sentence 

A forensic toxicologist also revealed that Shannon had been ingesting temazepam and travel sickness medication for a prolonged period. This suggested she was drugged.

Matthews, who was released in April 2012 after serving half of her sentence, is now a teetotal born-again Christian, living on benefits under a new name.

Her boyfriend Craig Meehan was also found to be guilty of 11 offences of possessing indecent images of children. He was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison but was released because he had spent longer than that on remand.

After the trial, Shannon was taken into care. She was given a new identity and now lives with a new family.

She is now 18 years of age. 

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS