Ex-pole dancer from Peterborough tells court she had no input into man's decision to kill himself

Crown Court News
Crown Court News

A former pole dancer who is alleged to have left a postman to die alone after backing out of a suicide pact has told a jury she had no input into his decision to kill himself.

Natasha Gordon, 44, of Paston Ridings, Peterborough, had sent Matthew Birkinshaw text messages before his death in December 2015, asking if he still wanted to go through with the plan, a court heard.

In one of the texts, Gordon had asked Mr Birkinshaw: "Do you still want to go? My (suicide) partner let me down today. I want to go soon."

The 31-year-old Royal Mail employee was pronounced dead at 7.24pm on December 17 when he was found in his Fiat Punto at Rutland Water in Oakham, Rutland.

Leicester Crown Court also heard that Gordon could afford to pay for previous death pact partners to travel to her as she was paid GBP250 a fortnight in sickness benefit.

However, the jury was told that these partners cut her out because "they didn't think I was genuine".

Ali Naseem Bajwa QC, defending, told the court of Gordon's past employment and medical history, including her jobs as a pole dancer and receptionist.

Gordon said she had to leave her job as a pole dancer for three months due to a pain in her gall bladder.

In the witness box, she told the jury: "Everybody has a choice to do what they do. You don't expect to be forced to do anything.

"He really wanted to go, he wanted to die.

"Matthew offered for me to go with him, it wasn't the other way round."

Mr Bajwa asked Gordon: "Did you input into his decision to commit suicide?"

Gordon replied: "No, he wanted to die."

Mr Bajwa also asked Gordon if she had ever forced anyone to commit suicide, which she also denied.

The 44-year-old added: "If you're suicidal, you're suicidal, that doesn't change."

Gordon denies a single charge of encouraging Mr Birkinshaw to take his own life.

Gordon said she spoke to other people about ways they could kill themselves after Mr Birkinshaw's death because it was "a comfort thing".

The former model told the jury that she did not want him to die and that she wanted to go back to save him when she was picked up by police.

When questioned by the prosecution, Gordon said she did not tell officers Mr Birkinshaw was dying 450 metres away because she "wasn't thinking straight".

Gordon continued to insist that she had tried to convince the postman not to commit suicide and had told him to think of his family.

She told the court that she changed her mind about ending her life as soon as she opened the car door.

Continuing to give evidence, Gordon said: "I tried to talk to Matthew and tried to talk him out of it as well.

"He got a bit annoyed with me for trying to talk him out of it."

She then said she tried to speak to him "about his family" and asked him "why would you want to do it?"

Breaking down in the witness box as she described the events that unfolded after, Gordon added: "He just got in the car, put the radio on and locked the doors.

"I tapped on the window but he wouldn't look at me - he leaned back and closed his eyes.

"I walked off and I looked back - then the police phoned me and I answered it."

Prosecutor Timothy Cray questioned Gordon on whether it would have been better to say "officer, for God's sake, there's a man dying down the road".

The 44-year-old said she did so when she "got home" and did not tell the police at the time because she was "just in shock".

She added: "I was panicking because he could have been dead."

Speaking of the texts sent after Mr Birkinshaw's death, Mr Cray asked Gordon: "Did it not cross your mind that, one man may well be dead, it is maybe not the best idea to talk to another man about suicide?"

Gordon replied: "I needed someone to talk to."

Mr Cray then suggested to Gordon that the people reading the messages would think "same old Natasha, still a fan of suicide".

Continuing to explain why she sent the texts, Gordon said: "I felt more suicidal because I wanted to go back and find Matthew ... but the police wouldn't take me.

"A man was dying and I couldn't do anything about it - I wanted to die.

"I thought he would get out of the car and change his mind."

Speaking of the charge she faced, Gordon said she did not encourage Mr Birkinshaw to commit suicide because she was only "thinking of myself".

The trial continues.