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UK's 'most hated mum' finds God after fake kidnapping

Mon 12 Dec 2016
By Premier Journalist

Karen Matthews - once dubbed the UK's most hated mum by The Sun - claims she has turned her life around after finding God.

The mother of seven, who has served time in prison for faking the kidnapping of her eldest child, is seeking forgiveness from the community she deceived.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror a friend of Matthews said she joined a Bible study after watching motivational videos featuring Bear Grylls, and has given up alcohol and cigarettes.

Her friend claims Karen said: "When I left prison I picked up a Bible and saw a passage about 'God loves you'.

"I knew I was hated by everyone, cut off from my family… but here they were, saying I was loved.

"I know I did something wrong but I'm not the baddest person people are making out. I am sorry for hurting people.

"I've hurt my family. My friends that supported me at the time, I've hurt them."

In February 2008, Karen Matthews reported that her 9-year-old daughter Shannon had gone missing near their home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

A major police operation costing £3.2 million was launched and more than 100 volunteers from the local community joined the search for the missing child.

The story made headline news for 24 days, with Karen Matthews appearing on the television appealing for her missing daughter to come home.

The Sun newspaper offered a £20,000 reward for information about Shannon's whereabouts.

On 14 March 2008, Shannon was found alive hidden inside in base of a bed at a house one mile from her home. According to evidence presented at trial, Shannon had been sedated with drugs.

The home belonged to the uncle of Karen's then-boyfriend, Michael Donovan.

It soon transpired that the kidnapping had been faked by Karen and Michael Donovan in a bid to receive publicity and reward money. The pair received eight-year prison sentences for the crime but served half their sentences.

Despite the guilty verdict in the trial, Karen continues to uphold that she had no involvement in the plot.

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