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Mother jailed over schoolgirl's kidnap and drug horror

  • Story Highlights
  • Girl, 9, drugged, tethered, as part of kidnap plot staged by mother and uncle
  • Karen Matthews, 33, and Michael Donovan, 40, jailed for 8 years
  • Guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice
  • Prosecutors say Shannon was tethered to roof beam, given sleeping tablets
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A woman was jailed for eight years by a British court Friday for her part in the kidnap of her own daughter.

Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan

Karen Matthews and Michael Donovan were both involved in the plot to kidnap Shannon.

Nine-year-old Shannon Matthews was locked in an apartment for 24 days after going missing from her home in February last year.

After a massive police investigation, Karen Matthews, 33, was found guilty last month of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. She was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court in West Yorkshire, northern England, the British Press Association reported.

Her former partner's uncle, Michael Donovan, 40, was also convicted of the same offences and received an eight-year jail term, PA said.

Prosecutors say Donovan abducted Shannon as she was on her way home from school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. They claim he gave her Temazepam -- a type of sleeping tablet -- and travel sickness pills and kept her tethered to an elasticated strap attached to a roof beam through a loft hatch when he went out.

Meanwhile Matthews kept up a "wicked and dishonest lie" as her daughter became the subject of a massive police search operation and a reward fund offered by a local newspaper grew to $50,000, jurors were told.

Donovan planned to release Shannon and then "discover" her, prosecutors said.

According to PA, Matthews told five versions of what happened to Shannon, ranging from being a distraught mother whose daughter had gone missing to blaming the crime on her former partner Craig Meehan and other members of his family.

It also emerged in court that Donovan abducted one of his own daughters after he became involved in a custody battle with his former wife, PA said.

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