Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Saturday, 24 January 2009

Family attack Matthews jail term

Karen Matthews
The trial heard that Matthews had "lied and lied and lied again" to police

The family of Karen Matthews say she should have been given a longer jail sentence for kidnapping her daughter.

Karen Matthews, 33, and her co-accused Michael Donovan, 40, were both jailed for eight years on Friday for the kidnap of Shannon Matthews last year.

Matthews' cousin Susan Howgate told BBC News: "When I heard she'd got eight years I couldn't believe it - I was expecting her to get 20 years.

"It's disgusting. She should have got more for what she did to her daughter."

Ms Howgate said she had discussed the sentencing with her son and mother and they all felt a longer term should have been handed down.

Shannon, who is now 10, was found at Donovan's flat in Batley Carr, West Yorkshire, last March after being held there for 24 days.

Matthews and Donovan were found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice.

No forgiveness

Jailing the pair at Leeds Crown Court, the judge Mr Justice McCombe said their offences were "truly despicable".

Ms Howgate, who lives in Keighley, West Yorkshire, said: "My youngest son thought she would probably get life and when I spoke to my mum she said they should have got more, both of them.

"I'm not saying she's evil like Myra Hindley, but she is evil in a tiny way because if she can do that to her own daughter what's she going to be like with her other children?"

She did not believe Matthews would ever be able to return to her home in Dewsbury because of the ill feeling against her on the estate.

"A lot of people would be after her," she said. "A few people will stick by her but I will never forgive her for what she's done."

The judge said that, because of their low intellect, it was doubtful Matthews and Donovan could have planned and carried out the kidnap without the help of other people.

However, Det Supt Andy Brennan, the officer who led the investigation, said the case was now closed.

He said: "If new evidence comes to light, it will of course be investigated.

"We considered all the evidence, including what Shannon said, with the CPS and concluded there was not sufficient evidence to charge anybody else."

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