By Paul Stokes
Karen Matthews arranged her own daughter Shannon's kidnap after being inspired by the huge public donations to the Madeleine McCann fund, police believe.
Matthews hoped her wicked scheme would generate an outpouring of generosity and reward money which she and her accomplice Michael Donovan could pocket for themselves.
People claiming to be members of Shannon's family approached representatives of the McCann fund asking for a share of the £1 million which had at that time been raised to help in the search for Madeleine.
And as Matthews and Donovan were convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice, the man who led the 24-day search for Shannon said he was in no doubt about the link to the Madeleine case.
Det Supt Andy Brennan, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Madeleine McCann gave them the idea - the fund money. Clearly the McCann case was still in everybody's mind. Karen Matthews is pure evil. It's difficult to understand what type of mother would subject her own daughter to such a wicked and evil crime."
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann, said: "It's beyond belief anyone could have sought to exploit poor Madeleine's plight in this way."
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Interesting Headline - Shannon Mathews
Shannon's family pestered McCanns for money ..... 5/12/08
Shannon Matthews - 9yrs old - Missing Since 19th February 2008 - Found Alive 14th March 2008