THE mother of schoolgirl Shannon Matthews – who was missing for 24 days this year – was appearing in court today charged with her kidnap and false imprisonment.

Karen Matthews, 33, was appearing at Leeds Crown Court with Michael Donovan, 40, who faces the same charges.

Both have already pleaded not guilty to the kidnap and false imprisonment of the nine-year-old.

Today’s appearance is understood to be a pre-trial hearing .

Matthews and Donovan also deny perverting the course of justice. Matthews also faces a child neglect charge.

Shannon disappeared on February 19 and was found less than a mile from her home in Dewsbury Moor just over three weeks later.