Page last updated at 10:10 GMT, Wednesday, 9 April 2008 11:10 UK

Shannon mother remanded by court

Karen Matthews leaving Dewsbury Police Station ahead of her court appearance
Karen Matthews faces two charges over Shannon's disappearance

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

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

The second charge states she "repeatedly concealed information" in relation to Shannon's whereabouts.

Ms Matthews was remanded in custody until 16 April.

Shannon vanished on 19 February and was found 24 days later after one of the county's largest missing person hunts.

The details of the child neglect charge state that she "wilfully neglected or abandoned" Shannon "in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to her health", between 18 February and 15 March.

The second charge states that Ms Matthews "repeatedly concealed information in relation to the whereabouts of Shannon Matthews in interviews and other contacts with officers with the West Yorkshire Police and claimed to have no knowledge of her whereabouts."

'Fair trial'

During the 13-minute hearing, Ms Matthews was flanked by four dock officers.

She arrived in handcuffs at Dewsbury Magistrates' Court after being driven from the town's police station.

More than a dozen police officers were stationed outside the vehicle entrance to the court as the white prison vehicle entered the complex.

Ms Matthews was arrested on Sunday and charged with the offences on Tuesday night.

Announcing the charges, 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.

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

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

Mr Mann said despite huge interest in the events surrounding Shannon Matthews, her mother "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.

He was arrested by West Yorkshire Police 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.

Shannon mother on neglect charge
08 Apr 08 |  West Yorkshire

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