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Last Updated: Friday January 23 2009 13:49 GMT

Shannon's mum jailed for years

Karen Matthews

The mum of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews has been told she'll have to spend eight years in jail for kidnapping her own daughter.

Nine-year-old Shannon disappeared after a school trip in February and was found 24 days later, in a flat a mile from her home in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Last month, Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan were found guilty of kidnapping Shannon and imprisoning her.

Now a judge at Leeds Crown Court has jailed them both for eight years.

Shannon Matthews
Mr Justice McCombe said the offences they committed were "truly despicable".

"It is impossible to conceive how you could have found it in you to put this young girl through the ordeal that you inflicted upon her," he said.

During their trial in December, the court heard Matthews and Donovan kept Shannon hidden because they wanted to claim a 50,000 reward being offered by newspapers for her safe return.

Police raid

Shannon's disappearance sparked one of the UK's biggest searches for a missing person.

Michael Donovan
Michael Donovan was part of Shannon's extended family
Her mum even went on TV asking for Shannon to go home, even though she knew she was at Michael Donovan's flat, down the road in Batley.

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.

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