Who is, or was, Shannon Matthews? I couldn't remember initially, when R. phoned and said she was reading about her in The Times:
When Shannon Matthews vanished after leaving her primary school, there was an initial flurry of attention on the impoverished council estate in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, where she lived. West Yorkshire Police knew that they were dealing with a potential case of child abduction and threw unprecedented resources into their search. As the community pulled together, the satellite vans of the national media arrived on the hillside streets of Dewsbury Moor and for a few days Shannon’s name featured prominently on newspaper billboards.Her parents are the opposite of photogenic. It seems her mother called two of her seven offspring "the twins", even though they were born a year apart, because, unusually, they had the same father.
But no longer. The search for a vanished innocent continues but Britain seems to have lost interest. This week the hunt appeared to have been classed as less newsworthy than the most minor developments in the search for Madeleine McCann, who disappeared nine months ago.
Is Shannon — a shy, timid, gentle girl — somehow deemed less worthy of our concern?
But the fecklessness of this little girl's family is not her fault. Whatever might have happened to her, or might be happening to her, she deserves as much public concern as any other child. The Times article is absolutely right.
I've published her photo in the hope others might follow suit. If she is alive, her face needs to be recognisable. It's a remote chance, I know. But even poor children deserve a chance.
Thanks R, for suggesting this post.
Photo credit - PA, hotlinked from The Mirror's website.