Karen Matthews was eventually found guilty and jailed for eight years for her part in faking the nine-year-old’s abduction, and tonight a BBC drama following the events of the infamous case is set to hit the small screen.
The Moorside has already been blasted by Shannon’s loved ones, and ahead of tonight’s premiere, Karen’s cousin Susan Howgate slammed the two-part programme while remembering the horrific ordeal.
“It’s going to bring everything back up again for family members who are going to get grief like they have in the past,” Susan explained. “I don’t think it should go ahead.”
“I found out about it on Facebook,” she continued. “I only knew when they were making it and then I saw it was coming out tonight.”
Susan also made particularly shocking accusations against her cousin, suggesting Karen enjoyed her daughter’s phoney kidnap.
“When [Shannon] went missing,[Karen] was always laughing and joking,” Susan said. “I used to lie there in bed and think, ‘How’s it happened?’ I’d go around the next day and she’d be laughing and joking, so I was like, ‘Why is she laughing and joking?’”
She added: “One time she put kettle on and she said to me, ‘No you make the tea for everybody’.”
Susan explained the family are still living through hell with death treats and more being hurled at them almost a decade on from hitting the headlines in 2008.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble with people putting my windows through,” she sighed. “I’m still having bother even though it happened eight years ago.”
Sheridan Smith, 35, stars as Karen’s friend and neighbour Julie Bushby, who led the search for Shannon in tonight’s highly-anticipated drama.
Shannon’s family called the actress and other cast members a “disgrace”.
The Moorside airs tonight at 9pm on BBC One while Good Morning Britain continues weekdays at 6am on ITV.