Shannon Matthews kidnapper back in jail after arrest at Leeds Market

Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan
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THE man who helped stage the fake kidnapping of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews is back behind bars following his arrest at Leeds Market.

Michael Donovan, 44, was arrested earlier this week after he was deemed to have breached his parole. His arrest came after an incident in which he was allegedly attacked and verbally abused.

The incident, which took place days earlier, happened after he was recognised by members of the public as the man jailed for his role in the disappearance of nine-year-old Shannon.

It has been alleged a man and a woman were seen spitting on Donovan and shouting at him.

Because he is on licence, and required to meet certain conditions, Donovan’s involvement meant police were alerted and he was automatically recalled to prison.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “A 44-year-old man wanted for recall to prison was arrested at Leeds outdoor market shortly before 4pm on Monday.”

It is believed Donovan has been known to spend a considerable amount of time at the outdoor market in recent months.

He is understood to have been living at a parole and bail hostel in Leeds while on licence from jail.

His recall does not necessarily mean he will serve the remainder of his sentence in prison.

The disappearance of Dewsbury schoolgirl Shannon made national headlines and sparked one of the biggest police operations in living memory after she was reported missing in February 2008.

After a massive appeal and search effort, she was found hidden in a bed at Donovan’s home in Batley Carr 24 days later.

Her mother, Karen, was jailed for plotting the abduction along with Donovan, her ex-boyfriend’s uncle, in 2009.

It is believed the elaborate fake kidnapping was orchestrated in a bid to claim £50,000 in reward money put up for Shannon’s safe return.

Matthews and Donovan were jailed for eight years for kidnap but were released this year on licence.