Thursday, December 04, 2008

UK - Mother guilty of kidnapping daughter

Karen Matthew and Michael Donovan have been found guilty of kidnapping Shannon Matthews and of false imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court.

Shannon Matthews, Karen Matthew's daughter, had been taken after leaving school to Michael Donovan’s house where she was held sometimes tethered by a strap lowered through the ceiling. The court was also told the girl had been drugged with Temazepam. The girl had disappeared on the afternoon of 19th February 2008 in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England, and a massive police operation costing £3.2 million was launched to search for the 9 year old.
She was found alive on 14th March 2008 at a Michael Donovan’s house in Batley Carr, also in West Yorkshire and only a short distance away from Dewsbury. Donovan, formerly known as Paul Drake and the uncle of Shannon's then stepfather, Craig Meehan, along with Karen Matthews were charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. Karen Matthews was also charged with child neglect and perverting the course of justice and a joint trial commenced on 11th November.

During the trial the court heard that the couple had planned the kidnapping in order to obtain up to £50,000 in reward money. The Crown Prosecution Service said the pair had also been guilty of a huge breach of public trust by staging such a "scam or hoax". After the trial the police described Karen Matthews as "pure evil" and said she "was motivated by greed". Det Supt Andy Brennan said it was also "difficult to understant what would motivate a mother to do this to her own daughter". Both Matthews and Donovan are expected to be handed long custodial sentences [BBC / Sky News].

No comments: