Bid to block Shannon report

Shannon Matthews
Shannon Matthews disappeared from her home in Dewsbury Moor in February 2008. Photo: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire

The father of abducted West Yorkshire schoolgirl Shannon Matthews is asking the High Court to block publication of a report he believes will "seriously compromise" her welfare.

A QC representing Leon Rose told Mr Justice Holman, sitting in London, that if a "redacted" version of a serious case review is made public it would cause his daughter "upheaval" as she continues to "heal from her ordeal".

Shannon disappeared in February 2008 from her home in Dewsbury Moor. After a massive police operation she was discovered 24 days later at her stepfather's uncle's home less than a mile away.

In January 2009 her mother Karen was jailed for eight years for what a judge described as a "truly despicable" plot to abduct nine-year-old Shannon.

Michael Donovan, in whose flat the youngster was found in the base of a bed, was also jailed for eight years.

The High Court
The father of Shannon Matthews has asked the High Court to block the publication of a report that he believes will compromise her welfare. Credit: Sang Tan/AP/Press Association Images

A summary of the serious case review is already in the public domain. Mr Justice Holman heard that the intention was not to publish the full Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board review, but for publication of a "redacted overview" document.

Anthony Hayden QC, representing Mr Rose, who was present in court, said that even if the document was revised to remove any possible ambiguity, Shannon's father would still "resist" its publication.

He told the court: "While it is possible, at least theoretically, to revise the report in a way that makes it perfectly plain that the father is a positive and important influence in Shannon's life, nothing can prevent the upheaval to her life that will be caused by the publication of this document.

"That is primarily why we are seeking to resist publication. It is perfectly feasible that we can have discussions to amend the document, but the central hardship here is to Shannon."

The hearing was adjourned until Thursday.