Karen Matthews making an emotional appeal for the return of her daughter, March 2008
Karen Matthews, the woman who hatched a plot to abduct her own daughter, was released from prison yesterday after serving half of an eight year sentence for kidnap and false imprisonment.
Matthews, 36, earned the title 'Britain's worst mother' after she appeared on TV appealing for the safe return of her nine-year-old daughter Shannon in an elaborate bid to claim a £50,000 reward and gain countrywide sympathy.
Matthews and her accomplice, Michael Donovan, 44, sparked a £3.2million police hunt when they kidnapped Shannon from her home. In fact Shannon was just a mile from her home, drugged and tied up.
Shannon was found by police 24 days later in Donovan's flat a mile away, hidden in a compartment under a bed. Donovan, who was also jailed for eight years, was released last week.
The mother of seven was freed from Foston Hall prison in Derbyshire and is believed to have been taken to a secret location within 30 miles of her former home in Dewsbury Moor, West Yorkshire.
Matthews, whose children are now in care, will remain on licence for the rest of her sentence. During that time she must observe strict rules or face being returned to jail.