BBC Home
Explore the BBC

CBBC

UK

Last Updated: Thursday December 04 2008 14:08 GMT

Shannon's mum found guilty

Karen Matthews

The mum of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews has been found guilty of kidnapping her own daughter.

Shannon disappeared after a school trip in February, but was found 24 days later, in a flat just a mile from her home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

After hearing all the evidence, a jury of 12 people has decided Karen Matthews is guilty of kidnapping her own daughter and imprisoning her.

A 40-year-old man, Michael Donovan, has been found guilty of the same charges.

Shannon Matthews
Shannon was missing for 24 days
During the 13-day trial, Leeds Crown Court heard how Shannon's mum and Donovan kept her hidden because they wanted to claim a 50,000 reward being offered by newspapers for her safe return.

When Shannon was reported missing, thousands of police officers took part in what became one of the biggest searches for a missing person the UK has ever seen.

Her mum went on TV appealing for Shannon to go home, even though she knew exactly where she was - at Michael Donovan's flat, down the road in Batley.

Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan was part of Shannon's extended family
Donovan is part of Shannon's extended family and when police raided his flat they found him hiding under a bed with the nine-year-old, who had been given medicine to make her sleepy.

They also found an elastic cord in the attic, which police think may have been used to stop Shannon running away.

Arrested

After she was found, friends and neighbours had a massive party to celebrate, but just days later Shannon's mum was arrested.

Now she's waiting to hear how she'll be punished for her crimes with Michael Donovan, but it's expected they'll be sent to jail for a very long time.