Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Monday, 1 December 2008

Shannon mother 'consummate liar'

Karen Matthews
Ms Matthews said she was "confused" during police interviews

The mother of Shannon Matthews "lied and lied and lied again" as she told five different versions regarding her daughter's disappearance, a jury heard.

Summing up the prosecution case at Leeds Crown Court, Julian Goose QC said Karen Matthews was a "consummate liar".

He said from the moment she made a false report claiming her nine-year-old daughter had been abducted, she had repeatedly contradicted herself.

Ms Matthews, 33, and Michael Donovan, 40, deny kidnap and false imprisonment.

They also deny perverting the course of justice.

The prosecution allege Mr Donovan kept Shannon drugged and imprisoned in his flat in Lidgate Gardens, Batley Carr, West Yorkshire as part of a plan he and Ms Matthews had to claim 50,000 in reward money.

'Wicked liar'

Mr Goose told the jury: "She [Ms Matthews] has lied and lied and lied again. To the police, various friends and you in this court.

"She has lied so often and so much that she has reached the point where all she can say is 'I was confused' and then blame everybody else except herself."

Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan was "weak in body and mind", his barrister said.

Mr Goose said she had told five different versions and he added: "You know, as we all do from life experiences, that people who tell lies have to stick to the lie because if they change it they get found out.

"You may think ladies and gentleman, as you can be sure about it, she has been found out for the dishonest and, we say, wicked liar that she is."

Mr Goose said Ms Matthews had "conjured" up tears during public appeals for help.

Alan Conrad QC, for Mr Donovan, said the case involved a "young child" and it was important the jurors were not influenced by their emotions.

He said his client was not an "evil monster" but in reality he was a "pathetic inadequate" who was "vulnerable, unsophisticated and weak in body and mind".

He told the jury: "In particular, in this case you will have to consider duress. Whether it was, or may have been, the case that Donovan was driven to act as he did because he genuinely and reasonably believed that he would be killed or seriously harmed immediately or almost immediately if he did not do as he was told."

He said Mr Donovan was "put under pressure he couldn't stand up to".

Referring to Mr Donovan's arrest, when he allegedly resisted, Mr Conrad said the police evidence was "riddled with inaccuracies" and the officers had allowed emotion to affect them.

The trial continues.

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