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  1. ITV Report

10 years on: A look back at the search for Shannon Matthews

It's hard to believe that the events on Dewsbury Moor back in February 2008 actually took place.

During the 24 days that Shannon was missing there were many rumours and theories as to what might have happened, but none of them proved to be correct.

There were suspicions about the behaviour of Karen Matthews, who could sometimes be seen laughing with friends as if she hadn't a care in the world.

Karen Matthews appeared on television appealing for help to find her daughter Credit: PA

Again the theories were wide of the truth. After three days we were aware that nine year old Shannon was 'statistically dead'.

In other words, experience showed that a child would almost certainly not be found alive after being missing for so long. But the huge search continued.

Hundreds of police officers rummaged through skips, bins, garden sheds. They appeared on street corners on horseback and on foot, looking in undergrowth and in ponds. All of this was in the glare of national publicity.

The people who lived near Karen Matthews became accustomed to satellite TV trucks parked on their street and reporters broadcasting live throughout the day.

Karen Matthews was later arrested Credit: PA

We were shown a diagram of Shannon's family tree which was accurately described as looking more like a map of the London Underground.

Throughout all of this only Karen Matthews appeared confident that her daughter would be found alive.

Julie Bushby led the community search for Shannon Credit: PA

Her good hearted neighbours led by, amongst others, Julie Bushby never gave up hope.

Karen's friends and neighbours organised vigils, distributed leaflets with Shannon's photo on, had T shirts made and spent many hours just looking.

It's fair to say I didn't share their optimism, making the day that Shannon was found all the more unexpected.

There were celebrations, before Karen Matthews' web of lies quickly unravelled.It is no surprise that what happened next prompted screenwriters to dramatise the story.

Karen Matthews now has a new identity Credit: PA

Today - ten years on - Shannon Matthews' identity is protected and no images can be shown of her after the time she went missing. Her nine year old face is all that we are allowed to show.

Karen Matthews is out of jail, has a new life and legally cannot be approached for comment about what she did.

The crime she committed ten years ago proved that truth is stranger than fiction.