LEICESTER: A former pole dancer who left a postman to die alone, after deceiving him into believing they had a genuine suicide pact, has been jailed.
Natasha Gordon was found guilty by a jury, at a recent trial, of encouraging Matthew Birkinshaw to take his own life.
She claimed it was only at the last minute, when she backed out of a plan to kill themselves in a car at Rutland Water on December 17, 2015.
Gordon, of Peterborough, whose family live in Leicester, had only met Mr Birkinshaw, of Walsall, a day earlier on an online suicide forum.
The 44-year-old was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court today.
Gordon, who wore leggings, a polo neck jumper and a leopard print coat, showed no reaction in the dock as she was jailed for four years.
During the trial, the prosecutor, Timothy Cray, said Gordon was an “enthusiastic” supporter of suicide.
He said that she had also discussed similar suicide pacts with six others she had met via the internet.
Mr Cray said it was a crime to encourage another person to kill themselves.
He said: “We say that’s exactly what this defendant did in respect of Matthew Birkinshaw.
“Within hours of her meeting Matthew via the internet she was telling him she was prepared to take her own life with him; she would be his suicide partner and they would die together.
“Matthew travelled from his home in Walsall through the night to this defendant’s home in Peterborough.”
They went to Rutland Water and it took “several hours” for him to kill himself in a car.
Mr Cray said the defendant did not make it clear to the police – when they came to collect her after she sent a distressing text to her partner – what Mr Birkinshaw was doing or where he was until it was too late.
He added that Gordon intended to encourage Matthew, aged 31, to take his own life.
“It is a million miles away from any sort of mercy killing or act of comfort to a loved one in their last hours,” Mr Cray said.
“Evidence on the day suggests she didn’t intend, or at least was in two minds about her own expressed wish to Matthew, that she was going to take her own life.”
The court heard that before being picked up by the police in Rutland she had already re-established text contact with another male considering suicide – and continued to suggest the same method of killing to him and a second person during the rest of the evening, until she was arrested at 11.15pm.
Gordon, who told the court she was a former model and ex-pole dancer when in her 20s and 30s, said she was struck down in recent years with debilitating pain due to gall bladder and digestive problems which made her feel suicidal.
Mr Cray earlier told the court: “On the afternoon in question, Matthew was writing farewell notes and sending goodbye messages.
“When she went with Matthew she brought her dog with her, she was saying the dog was going to die too.”