BBC Home > BBC News > England

Mother 'uninterested in Shannon'

13 November 08 13:49 GMT

The mother of missing schoolgirl Shannon Matthews did not ask about her daughter's welfare when told the child had been found, a court heard.

Leeds Crown Court was told Karen Matthews only commented on a police officer's mobile phone ringtone.

Karen Matthews, 33, and Michael Donovan 39, are on trial over the nine-year-old's disappearance in West Yorkshire in February this year.

They deny kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

A detective on the missing schoolgirl case told jurors that Karen Matthews made no enquiries about her daughter's welfare as she was driven to a police station after Shannon was found following a 24-day search.

Det Con Mark Cruddas told a jury at Leeds Crown Court that he went to Moorside Road, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, with a colleague to break the news of Shannon's discovery.

He said there was a "buzz of excitement in the house" and he got the impression "people knew before we got there".

Prosecutor Julian Goose QC, asked him if there was "any time when she asked about the welfare of her daughter or where she had been found".

Mr Cruddas said: "No, she didn't."

Mr Goose asked him if anything else happened as they travelled in the police car.

Mr Cruddas said: "A bit of a strange incident where my colleague's phone rang.

"When the phone rang, Karen just commented on the fact she liked the ringtone."

Det Supt Andy Brennan, who led the search for Shannon, told the court that at one point he had 75-85 detectives working on the case.

He said that by comparison a murder inquiry would have 10-15 detectives assigned to the case.

Officers had been moved from "live" inquiries such as stranger rapes and murder investigations to find the youngster.

About 800 people in the area were identified as being of interest to police.

Some of the inquiries made of these people were "particularly intrusive" Mr Brennan said.

At one point during the investigation officers went to an address after being told by Karen Matthews and Craig Meehan a clairvoyant had told them Shannon could be there.

The case continues.

Related BBC sites