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Estate in turmoil over Shannon

8 April 08 15:53 GMT
By Mark Simpson
BBC News, north of England correspondent

First there was fear, then there was joy and now there's a sense of bewilderment on the street where Shannon Matthews used to live.

Residents on Moorside Road in Dewsbury helped look for Shannon when she was missing, then celebrated when she was found 24 days later.

Now they don't know how to feel.

"We've all been through an emotional rollercoaster of ups and downs. What on earth can possibly happen next?" asked one woman.

And everyone else is asking the same question.

To date, four people in Shannon's extended family have been questioned about her disappearance.

The latest is the person who was closer to her than anyone - her mother, 32-year-old Karen Matthews.

Shannon is one of her seven children by five different fathers.

Before she disappeared they were living together with Karen's partner, Craig Meehan.

Since Sunday night, Karen Matthews has been talking to the police after being arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

Detectives questioning her are focusing on the 24 days and nights her daughter was missing.

Police want to know what contact - if any - she had with Michael Donovan, the man charged with kidnapping Shannon.

It is understood they are asking her about alleged inconsistencies in her version events.

Detectives are comparing comments she made when her daughter was missing with remarks she is alleged to have made to friends on Sunday evening, which were heard by a police family liaison officer.

Back on Moorside Road, Karen's friends and neighbours are waiting for news.

They know that police must decide soon whether to charge or release her.

Amid all the rumours and counter-rumours, speculation and gossip, there is a hunger for facts.

But one resident said a sense of perspective was needed by everyone, and it was the wellbeing of Shannon which was paramount.

He said: "Seven weeks ago, many of us feared Shannon was dead. But she was found alive and well."

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