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Last Updated: Sunday, 16 March 2008, 11:40 GMT
Shannon police given extra time
School photograph of Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews was found in a flat on Friday afternoon
Detectives have been given more time to question a man suspected of abducting schoolgirl Shannon Matthews.

The nine-year-old was found in a divan bed in a flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, more than three weeks after she disappeared from nearby Dewsbury.

Officers arrested her stepfather's uncle, Michael Donovan, 39, formerly known as Paul Drake, on Friday.

Police have rejected claims by an MEP that she could have been found faster. Shannon is now in social services care.

Mr Donovan and Shannon were found by police in two concealed compartments under a divan bed at the flat in Lidgate Gardens, just one mile from Shannon's parents' home in Dewsbury, on Friday afternoon.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said that specially-trained officers had interviewed Shannon on Saturday, and would continue to speak to her on Sunday.

Police said she was "on the road to recovery following her ordeal".

Its use would have been wholly inappropriate in this case and the suggestion it could have somehow speeded up Shannon's recovery is totally inaccurate
West Yorkshire Police

Yorkshire MEP Edward McMillan-Scott has said police should have carried out more checks on Shannon's family.

He also said if police had used a missing child alert like those used in other countries, known as an amber alert, Shannon would have been found sooner.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police defended the force.

He said: "We would like to make it clear that UK Police Forces currently have available the Child Rescue Alert scheme.

"This is designed for use in potential child abductions where a vehicle or partial vehicle details are known.

"As such its use would have been wholly inappropriate in this case and the suggestion it could have somehow speeded up Shannon's recovery is totally inaccurate."

Karen Matthews and Craig Meehan
Karen Matthews celebrated being reunited with her daughter

The search operation was the force's biggest since the Yorkshire Ripper case.

Shannon's relieved mother, Karen Matthews said on Saturday: "I never gave up hope and now she'll be able to come home and sleep in her room again.

"We've got her pink bedding which she'll love.

"We're just happy to be a family again. That's all we've wanted - Shannon back and safe - now the family is safe again," she said.

West Yorkshire Police said Shannon had spent "a comfortable and settled night" on Friday watching films and playing with a kitten after she was found.

Shannon has been made the subject of an emergency police protection order, which will be in place "as long as is necessary", police said.



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Family friend on Shannon's mother's relief



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