Shannon Matthews was reported missing by her mother Karen Matthews on the evening of 19 February 2008 after she failed to return from a school swimming trip. On 14 March - 24 days after the nine-year-old was reported missing - Shannon was found alive and hidden in the base of a divan bed at a house in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire. Michael Donovan, the uncle of Karen Matthews’ partner, Craig Meehan, was arrested at the scene. Three days later, Karen Matthews was charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice over her daughter’s disappearance.
She and Donovan went on trial, starting in September, and at the conclusion, both were found guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice in December. The plan had been to take Shannon, then release her, drive around the corner then “discover” her before claiming the £50,000 reward. In January 2009, both Karen Matthews and Donovan were sentenced to eight years in prison. After the trial, Shannon was taken into care. She was given a new identity and now lives with a new family.