Shannon accused denies restraining her with strap

The man accused of kidnapping Shannon Matthews today denied using an elasticated strap to “enforce” his control of the youngster while she was held captive in his flat.

The man accused of kidnapping Shannon Matthews today denied using an elasticated strap to “enforce” his control of the youngster while she was held captive in his flat.

The strap was found tied to a loft beam in Michael Donovan’s flat and it is alleged it was used to restrain Shannon’s movements.

The jury at Leeds Crown Court was again shown a 3-D image of the strap and how it could have restricted Shannon’s movements around the flat.

Shannon, who was nine at the time, was found in Donovan’s flat in Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, 24 days after she went missing from her home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire, in February.

The prosecution allege Donovan kept the youngster drugged and imprisoned in his flat and forced her to keep to a strict set of rules.

The list of demands included keeping quiet and not going near the windows.

Under cross examination for the prosecution, Julian Goose QC, put it to Donovan that he used the strap to control Shannon’s movements when she was alone in the flat.

He put it to Donovan: “Was it just a coincidence that when pulled down it would not permit somebody who has it wrapped around them from leaving the flat?

“I don’t know anything about the strap,” Donovan told the jury.

Mr Goose put it to him that the elastic strap made it possible for Shannon to go to the toilet in his flat.

“It wasn’t wrapped around her,” he replied.

Donovan told the jury she was able to move around the flat “freely”.

Earlier, Donovan, aged 40, was accused of being involved with other members of his family in a plan to abduct the schoolgirl.

Donovan and Shannon’s mother Karen Matthews, aged 33, both deny kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice in connection with the girl’s disappearance.

It is claimed Matthews was plotting to claim £50,000 (€59,371) reward money from her daughter’s faked kidnap.

It was put to Donovan by Matthews’ barrister, Frances Oldham QC, that his sister Alice Meehan, niece Amanda Hyett, and Matthews’ partner Craig Meehan were involved in the plan to abduct the youngster.

Mrs Oldham said to Donovan: “This plan involving Shannon, involved you, Craig, the Hyetts, and Alice, didn’t it?”

Donovan said: “Not to what I know about Amanda and Alice.”

Mrs Oldham said: “But Craig?”

Donovan replied: “I’m not sure about Craig.”

Mrs Oldham continued: “You, Mr Donovan, and members of your family made this plan?”

Donovan said: “No.”

Mrs Oldham said Donovan was the person controlling the plan.

She said: “Mr Donovan, you knew exactly what you were doing, didn’t you? You were the one in control, you were in control of Shannon?”

Donovan denied the suggestions.

The jury was also shown a collection of CCTV footage showing Donovan in Dewsbury and in supermarkets in Batley and Dewsbury during the 24 days Shannon was missing.

He said Shannon sat in the back of his car in car parks while he shopped in the supermarkets, claiming he “didn’t want her to be cooped up in the flat”.

Donovan has told the court he was threatened by Matthews to keep to the plan and was scared.

In one CCTV clip, Donovan can be seen putting money into a charity box in the shop.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

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