Peterborough woman persuaded postman to take his own life before leaving him to die alone, court told

Crown Court news
Crown Court news

A postman took his own life after entering a suicide pact with a woman he met online, who left him to die alone, a court heard.

Natasha Gordon, described as an "enthusiastic advocate" of suicide, has gone on trial accused of encouraging 31-year-old Matthew Birkinshaw to end his own life.

She is alleged to have persuaded Mr Birkinshaw to take his own life in his car at Rutland Water, Oakham, Rutland, before leaving him to die on December 17, 2015.

The 44-year-old allegedly had a history of encouraging others to commit suicide before she met 31-year-old Mr Birkinshaw on an online discussion forum.

The prosecution also say Gordon was in the process of talking to someone else about a future suicide while talking to Mr Birkinshaw.

Mr Birkinshaw, from Walsall, had previously announced his intention to end his life by a different method before Gordon allegedly changed his mind.

Mr Birkinshaw travelled to Gordon's home in Peterborough in the early hours of December 17.

Opening the case against Gordon, Prosecutor Timothy Cray told the jury of five men and seven women the defendant thought about, talked about, and was a firm believer in suicide, and had encouraged six others to do so in the past.

Gordon had also allegedly told her partner she was going to kill herself, leading him to phone the police.

At Leicester Crown Court on Wednesday, Mr Cray said: "Matthew was just 31 years old when he took his own life, very shortly after he met the defendant in December 2015.

"Within hours of having met Matthew via the internet, the defendant was telling him that she was prepared to commit suicide with him.

"She did not make it clear to police what she was doing until it was too late."

The court heard how the pair exchanged messages and phone calls before the incident.

In a message to Mr Birkinshaw, Gordon said: "I really can't wait to go tomorrow, I hope you do not change your mind."

Mr Cray continued: "This case is a million miles from any sort of mercy killing or act of comfort to a loved one in their last hours."

He told the court Gordon was "quite prepared to say to people she hardly knew" that taking their own life "was the right thing to do".

Mr Cray described Mr Birkinshaw as someone who "had a lot to live for" despite having felt "disconnected with the world" for a long time.

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

The trial continues.