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10th Feb 2017

Locals offering ‘guided tours’ of estate where Shannon Matthews was kidnapped

Alison Bough

It has emerged that shameless local residents are offering so-called ‘Karen Matthews Tours’ of The Moorside Estate where nine-year-old Shannon Matthews was hidden during her hoax kidnapping in February 2008.

On Tuesday night the BBC aired The Moorside, a dramatisation of the infamous events surrounding the ‘disappearance’ of English schoolgirl Shannon Matthews from The Moorside Estate in West Yorkshire.

The drama, which starred Sherlock’s Sian Brooke and Cilla star Sheridan Smith, followed the story as local police and community mounted a frantic search which took on the scale of a high-profile murder enquiry.

Shannon’s ‘kidnapping’ was later discovered to have been staged by her mother Karen Matthews and her partner’s uncle, Michael Donovan, in order to gain financially from the publicity and to claim the reward money, which they planned to split between themselves.

Now, local paper The Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports that local residents of The Moorside Estate area of Dewsbury are offering ‘Karen Matthews Tours’ after the television programme peaked the public’s interest in the events once again.

For the princely sum of £15, visitors are given a guided tour of the estate, including ‘key addresses’ such as the Matthews family home, the flat where Shannon was drugged and held for a month, the community centre where locals organised the search for the nine-year-old, and the police station where Karen Matthews was eventually charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

The local self-proclaimed ‘tour guide’, a man in his 30’s, told the newspaper,

“I will show you all the sights. Give us £15 and I will take you round and show you where everyone lives. Me and me mate have taken a couple of people round. They said they had come over from Leeds to see the street and that.

There has been quite a few people driving up and down so we thought we’d stop folk and offer our services.”

BBC crews actually filmed The Moorside, which stars actress Gemma Whelan as convicted mum Karen, on an estate in nearby Bradford.

Image: The Moorside, BBC