Karen Matthews, the woman dubbed ‘Britain’s Worst Mother’ after being convicted of kidnapping her own daughter in a bid to profit from her disappearance, last night broke her ten-year silence on the scandal – to complain the public give her a rough time.
The unrepentant 43-year-old offered to take a lie detector test to prove she wasn’t involved in the crime, despite being convicted of kidnapping the youngster and serving four years of an eight-year sentence.
Her nine-year-old daughter Shannon vanished in February 2008 before being found almost a month later, tied up and trapped under a bed at Karen’s accomplice Michael Donovan’s flat in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
But in her first interview after being released, Matthews hit out at the nickname she has been given, insisting: ‘I’m not Britain’s worst mum.’
Karen Matthews was pictured over the weekend sporting an entirely new look and was accused of sponging off a 72-year-old sugar daddy
The 43-year-old has offered to take a lie detector test to prove she wasn’t involved in the crooked scheme to profit off of the disappearance of her nine-year-old daughter Shannon
‘I didn’t kill anybody,’ she added. ‘Baby P’s mum and Maxine Carr don’t get the abuse that I do.’
She toldThe Mirror: ‘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.’
Shannon (left), who was aged nine at the time, was found 24 days after her disappearance tied up in the space under a bed in the town of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. While she was missing her mother helped lead a huge hunt for the child (right)
Matthews served four years for arranging the kidnap and false imprisonment of her daughter Shannon who was aged just nine at the time.
Matthews still refuses to accept she took any part in the plot to cash in on £50,000 reward money.
The Shannon Matthews case became one of the most high profile missing persons inquiries ever seen in Britain.
The schoolgirl was reported missing from The Moorside, a council housing estate on the outskirts of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, by her mother Karen in February 2008.
The shamed scrounger served four years for arranging the kidnap of her daughter. Pictured: A much-changed Karen Matthews pictured left with a new hairstyle and right after she was arrested in 2012
Her disappearance sparked the largest search operation in the county since the Yorkshire Ripper, involving 250 officers and costing £3.2m.
Shannon was missing for 24 days before she was found, hidden away in the base of a divan bed in a dilapidated home.
When she was found, police discovered Shannon had been tied with an elastic rope to prevent her escape and, at times, had been drugged.
In a bid to ‘prove’ she isn’t the UK’s worst parent, Matthews has broken her ten-year silence
Detectives think Matthews had already settled on the idea of staging a kidnapping after seeing how much money poured into the Madeleine McCann fund
The details were harrowing. But, in a further twist, it later emerged that her own mother Karen, then 32, had staged the kidnap.
In revelations which shocked the nation, it emerged that she had colluded with Michael Donovan – the uncle of her then boyfriend – so she could pocket money from the appeal.
The duo’s plan was to release the little girl in Dewsbury market, and have Donovan – whom she met at a family funeral the year before – ‘find’ her so he could claim the £50,000 reward money offered for her safe return.
One of seven children by five different fathers, Shannon was chosen because she was a girl and she was more photogenic, maximising the financial reward.
Pensioner Eric Anderson, 72, is said to be funding lifestyle of shamed Matthews and acting as her sugar daddy
Detectives think Matthews had already settled on the idea of staging a kidnapping after seeing how much money poured into the Madeleine McCann fund, but may have copied some of the finer details from a similar plot in the TV show Shameless.
The series of incidents plumbed new depths of depravity. But, it also went on to shape the rest of the young girl’s life, leaving her grappling to find her way back to normality.
Aside from her face being plastered all over national newspapers because of her mother’s selfish actions, another consequence was being torn away from her maternal grandparents and her siblings.
These new photos come days after Matthews was accused of selling food donated to people living on the street
Her grandparents had already been there for her on numerous occasions. Karen – who had a 60-a-day cigarette habit, funded by benefit payments of £286 per week – had been deemed unsuitable of caring for her daughter long before the fake kidnapping plot.
So, when Shannon was born, June and Gordon happily stepped in to look after her, taking her into their home as soon as she came out of hospital. They then looked after her for the first few months of her life until it was time for her to go back to Karen.
Throughout their life, when the children were an apparent inconvenience to Karen – who spent much of her time watching daytime TV and playing video games – Shannon sought solace in her grandparents.
Even when Shannon was reported missing, Karen told the media she had six children and later had to correct herself to say seven – an indication of how much she cared for her children.
So, when the kidnapping saga unfolded, they were called to help again. While Karen was talking to the police, social workers brought Shannon’s younger brother and sister, who still lived with their mother at the time, to their grandparents’ house.