Karen Matthews, who hit the headlines in 2008 when her then 9-year-old daughter Shannon disappeared, has spoken out for the first time since the scandal.
The 43-year-old was found guilty of kidnapping and imprisoning her own daughter, alongside co-conspirator Michael Donovan.
But after having served four years in jail, she maintains in her first interview, with The Mirror, since Shannons ordeal, that she is completely innocent.
She also defended herself against her critics, stating she doesnt deserve the abuse she gets. Karen said, “Im not Britains worst mum. I didnt kill anybody. Baby Ps mum and Maxine Carr dont get the abuse that I do.”
She continued, claiming that she didnt set up the kidnap plot in order to claim the £50,000 reward money for finding Shannon. Karen said, “None of its true. Im on the edge. It makes me want to kill myself but Id never do that. Im scared Ill die lonely and alone.”
“From the start I didnt know where she was. Others were involved. I didnt have a clue.
“You cant kidnap your own child. I know the truth and I wasnt involved in it. I still have nightmares thinking that its all going to happen again.”
At the time, Karen and her boyfriend Craig Meehan appeared to be as shocked as the rest of the world, when Shannon was kidnapped from her home in Dewsbury, Yorkshire.
The pair joined the local community and the police in searching for Shannon. But she was found 24 days later on 14th March, drugged and hidden in the base of a bed in Michael Donovans flat, nearby in Batley Carr.
(A 3D computer image showing how Michael Donovan hid with Shannon in the base of a bed when police turned up at his house)
During the interview, Karen also claimed that she had been assaulted in prison, after her fellow inmates found out she was there.
Since her release from prison, rumours had flown that Karen Matthews was involved with various different man. She maintains that the speculation is now true.
“Ive sworn off men. I will never get married. I dont trust them at all. Im trying to get my life back on track and everything that is being said is not true.”
Karen has since relocated from Yorkshire to a town in the South of England, where she currently hold a volunteer role in a Christian charity shop.
She revealed, “I am really proud of getting a job. It makes me feel like Ive achieved something for myself. I feel Im not being judged when Im there. I love my job and I love going in every time.”
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