"Where's the body?" asked Brennan, a veteran of more than 20 murder inquiries.
"No, we've found her alive and we're on the way to the station," said Kettlewell. "It stopped me in my tracks," says Brennan. "I had to get straight over to Dewsbury to see her physically to reassure myself."
He walked into a room where Shannon was playing with some toys, and she smiled and said hello. Brennan recalls: "I smiled back and said hello myself. That was all that needed to be said. We'd rescued a kidnapped, nine-year-old child and police work doesn't get any better."
Judging from some of the coverage of the Shannon Matthews affair, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the worst thing about murderous child abducters is that there is at least one fewer of them than everybody thought when the kid was first declared missing. These people never seem to be around when the taxpayer needs them. Yet one of the heartening things about the whole business is that it shows how unbroken society actually is. When the child was kidnapped, the community rallied round as it is ideally supposed to do, and tried to find her. She was discovered when a neighbour heard odd sounds from the flat she was detained in, made the connection and took the trouble to call the police. The police did their job efficiently, saw through the cover story and assembled a case. The criminal justice system as a whole produced the correct result. Crime committed; crime detected; crime solved. To cap it all, a hardened cop expects to find a body and instead sees an actual living, breathing child - mauled about a bit but in reasonable physical and mental shape: Shannon and the rest of the kids now have a chance to prosper away from their wretched mother. But that I suppose is even more expense for the taxpayer.