Page last updated at 21:04 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 22:04 UK

Shannon mother on neglect charge

Karen Matthews
Karen Matthews faces two charges over Shannon's disappearance

The mother of Shannon Matthews has been charged in connection with the nine-year-old's disappearance.

Karen Matthews, 32, of Moorside Road, Dewsbury Moor, faces charges of child neglect and perverting the course of justice.

Shannon vanished on 19 February and was found 24 days later after one of the largest missing person hunts West Yorkshire Police had ever conducted.

Ms Matthews will appear before Dewsbury magistrates on Wednesday.

She was arrested on Sunday evening and questioned by detectives at Wakefield police station.

'Fair trial'

Peter Mann, spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said: "We have carefully considered all of the evidence in the file and decided there is sufficient evidence to charge Karen Matthews with perverting the course of justice and child neglect.

"We will continue to keep this case under constant review."

Shannon Matthews
The hunt for Shannon Matthews lasted three weeks and involved 250 officers

Mr Mann said despite huge interest in the events surrounding Shannon Matthews, Ms Matthews "has the right to a fair trial".

Michael Donovan, 39, of Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, is accused of abducting Shannon.

He faces charges of kidnap and false imprisonment and a provisional trial date for him has been set for 11 November.

Mr Donovan, who was formerly known as Paul Drake, is the uncle of Shannon's stepfather Craig Meehan and was arrested after Shannon was found at his flat on 14 March.

Mr Meehan's sister, 25-year-old Amanda Hyett, and his mother Alice Meehan were also arrested on Friday.

Ms Hyett was questioned on suspicion of assisting an offender while Ms Meehan, 49, was arrested on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Both were released on police bail.

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