Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Evil' Mother Found Guilty of Kidnap; ' Substantial' Sentence Likely

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Evil' Mother Found Guilty of Kidnap; ' Substantial' Sentence Likely

Article excerpt

Byline: Alistair Keely

THE mother of Shannon Matthews was condemned yesterday as "pure evil" and told she faces a substantial jail sentence after being found guilty of kidnapping her own daughter.

Karen Matthews, 33, conspired with her partner's uncle Michael Donovan, 40, to keep her nine-year-old daughter drugged and imprisoned for 24 days in a desperate plan to claim pounds 50,000 in reward money.

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, who led the investigation, said Matthews had "totally betrayed" her daughter and said her motivation for kidnapping her was purely financial.

He condemned her as "pure evil" and said she had started deceiving those closest to her from the very moment the youngster was kidnapped.

The detective was speaking after Matthews and Donovan were found guilty at Leeds Crown Court of the kidnap and false imprisonment of Shannon and perverting the course of justice. They will be sentenced at a date yet to be fixed, but Mr Justice McCombe warned them they faced a "substantial custodial sentence".

Shannon, now 10, went missing on February 19 as she walked home from school. West Yorkshire Police launched a massive search operation costing almost pounds 3.2m.

On March 14, Shannon was discovered in the base of a divan bed in Donovan's flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, less than a mile away from her home in Dewsbury Moor.

It was revealed that Donovan had picked the youngster up in his car and kept her imprisoned in his flat as part of a plan he and Matthews hatched to claim a pounds 50,000 reward offered by a national newspaper. Police believe the pair may have been influenced by the coverage of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, which was a high-profile story in the months before Shannon went missing.

After she was recovered, Shannon was found to have traces of the "potent, hypnotic" drug temazepam and travel-sickness medication Melcozine in her system. …

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