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."
Neither Matthews, 33, nor Donovan, 40, showed any emotion as a jury at Leeds Crown Court returned unanimous guilty verdicts after six hours' deliberation.
The judge warned them that they both face lengthy prison terms when they are sentenced at a later date.
Matthews's impassive reaction was in stark contrast to the tearful public appeals she made for the return of her nine-year-old daughter after she went missing on her way home from school in Dewbury in February this year.
Her television appearances were a sham, designed to maximise the reward money on offer, while Shannon was kept drugged and tethered at Donovan's home a mile away.
Donovan, an uncle of Matthews's then boyfriend Craig Meehan, had his own two daughters taken away from him after he allegedly made them watch him having sex with prostitutes, and detectives believe that if they had not caught him on the day they did, Shannon would not have survived.
Donovan had started packing bags ready to leave his first-floor flat in Batley Carr, fearing he was about to be discovered, and Det Supt Brennan said: "It's my belief that had Donovan taken the opportunity and escaped from Batley Carr on the day Shannon was rescued, I don't believe that we would have recovered her alive."
The search for Shannon cost £3.2million and involved 300 police officers, many of whom had to set aside rape and murder investigations to help with the manhunt.
She was eventually found alongside Donovan in a space under a divan bed in his flat after neighbours told police they had heard a child moving around inside the flat.
As he was driven away Donovan told officers: "Get Karen down here, we'd got a plan, we're sharing the money - £50,000."
Donovan told police the idea had been for him to release Shannon at Dewsbury market before "finding" her in the view of CCTV cameras and handing her in to police before claiming the reward.
Petra Jamieson, 38, who supported Matthews and took part in the searches, said: "I, like all the neighbours, had stood by her. I just can't believe it. We will have to do police checks on our friends in the future."
An investigation is now underway into whether social services could have done more to protect Matthews's children. Matthews had seven children by five fathers. Four of the children lived with her.
Source: The Telegraph