The mother of young British girl has been convicted, along with her boyfriend’s uncle, of kidnapping her own nine-year-old daughter in an unlikely plot to keep thousands of pounds in reward money.
Karen Matthews hatched the plan with Michael Donovan, who took young Shannon Matthews to his apartment and imprisoned her for 24 days, while her mother made emotional appeals for her return.
The jury at Leeds Crown Court today found the pair guilty of kidnapping, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. Justice McCombe warned the defendants that they faced a “substantial custodial sentence” before they were led away in custody.
As the jury delivered their verdicts after six hours of deliberation, Matthews stood staring straight forward. Donovan, also in silence, stood a few feet away from her separated by a court security officer. Neither of the defendants showed any emotion as the jury foreman returned the verdicts.
Petra Jamieson, a close friend and neighbor, said afterwards that she was shocked by the lack of reaction from Matthews: “I was disgusted. She showed absolutely no emotions. I’ve stood by her throughout this but that proves to me that she knew all along.”
Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, the senior investigating officer from West Yorkshire Police, broke the silence outside the court describing Matthews as “pure evil."
“She started misleading those closest to her from the moment Shannon was reported missing,” he said. “It is difficult to understand what type of woman would subject her own daughter to such a wicked and evil crime. Karen Matthews is a manipulative individual who has demonstrated a remarkable ability to lie."