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Who Is Craig Meehan? Tom Hanson Portrays Shannon Matthews' Stepfather In The Moorside

Craig Meehan went from local fishmonger to convicted paedophile.

14/02/2017 21:02 | Updated 14 February 2017

Dewsbury fishmonger Craig Meehan, then 22, was thrust into the national spotlight almost immediately after the hoax abduction of his partner’s daughter, Shannon Matthews. 

The Moorside, named after the estate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where nine-year-old Shannon lived, features a host of big names portraying Shannon’s mother Karen, her boyfriend Craig Meehan, friend Julie Bushby and accomplice Michael Donovan.

It focusses on the search for missing schoolgirl and the friendship between Karen Matthews and Bushby, who continued to stand by her throughout her trial.

Craig Meehan

Karen Matthews’ partner Craig Meehan is played by RADA-trained Tom Hanson.

Owen Humphreys/PA Archive
Craig Meehan pictured with Karen Matthews outside their home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire in 2008

It is the first television acting role for Hanson.

Meehan, almost 10 years Karen’s junior, was cleared of any involvement in the extortion plot but during the investigation into Shannon’s disappearance, his computer was found to have images of child pornography on it.

BBC
RADA-trained Tom Hanson plays Craig Meehan 

The fishmonger was found 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.

The convicted paedophile still lived in Dewsbury until recently, when he was revealed to be residing just 100 yards from a primary school.

Now aged 30, he has been relocated again for his own safety after angry locals and the father of a child at the school confronted him.  

Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive
Meehan pictured at Dewsbury Police Station before answering child porn charges in court 

Shannon Matthews was found 24 days after she went missing on 19 February 2008.

She was found drugged and tethered in the base of a divan bed at the nearby home of Meehan’s uncle, Michael Donovan.

Like Matthews, Donovan was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

West Yorkshire Police/PA Archive
Shannon Matthews now lives under a new identity 

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

She is 18 years old and under strict guidelines put in place after her mother’s conviction, she is not free to talk to the media until she is 21.

Part 2 of The Moorside will air on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday.

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