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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Shannon: The Mother of All Lies

Karen Matthews
Karen made a series of appeals for her daughter's return
The mother of Shannon Matthews has been found guilty of kidnapping her daughter in order to claim a reward for her recovery.

Karen Matthews and her co-accused Michael Donovan were convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice for holding the nine-year-old at Donovan's flat in West Yorkshire for 24 days in February this year.

Shannon was kept drugged, subdued and hidden from the public while police led local volunteers in a massive search for her and Karen made tearful appeals for her return.

Inside story

On 14 March, after a huge search operation by West Yorkshire Police costing almost 3.2m, Shannon was found by police in Donovan's flat, less than a mile from her home.

Shannon Matthews

Tonight, in an hour-long special programme, Panorama reveals the inside story of the kidnap that never was.

Jeremy Vine speaks to the head of the investigation into Shannon's disappearance and to the liaison officers assigned to the family.

The programme reveals when they first began to suspect that Karen was involved in Shannon's disappearance, how they unravelled the web of lies she had spun out in the media and in private.

And we hear of the moment officers, acting on a tip-off from a neighbour, broke down the door of Donovan's home, and found the missing child - and the man holding her captive - hidden in the base of a bed.

Shannon: The Mother of All Lies - a Panorama special - BBC One at 8pm tonight.


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