Peterborough woman tried to convince six people to commit suicide before entering into tragic pact with postman, jury hears

Crown court latest
Crown court latest

A Peterborough woman who encouraged a man she met online to take his own life, had tried to do so with six other people previously, a court has heard.

Natasha Gordon, 44, from Peterborough, 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, 31, to take his own life in his car at Rutland Water, Oakham, Rutland, before leaving him to die on December 17, 2015.

Opening the case against Gordon, Prosecutor Timothy Cray said witnesses to the incident had "seen smoke come from the car" and Mr Birkinshaw had died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The jury heard how Gordon got out of the car and walked to the nearby Best Western Hotel because she "couldn't go through with it".

A number of attempts were made to resuscitate Mr Birkinshaw, but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 7.24pm.

The court heard how Gordon had "only tried to help him" because she was "in pain herself".

She had allegedly made another person "feel like a failure for not committing suicide" before her encounter with Mr Birkinshaw.

Mr Cray said Gordon told police: "I didn't want to die that is why I pulled out."

She went on to explain she "loved her partner" and "expressed regret" for what happened.

Continuing his opening, Mr Cray said: "The defendant has been active on a number of suicide forums a year before this.

"She was seeking a suicide partner and made arrangments with a number of

different people.

"She was uber interested, if there is such a thing, in suicide."

Mr Cray told the jury that the defendant thought about, talked about, and was a firm believer in suicide, and had encouraged six others to do so in the past.

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."

In a statement read to the jury from Mr Birkinshaw's girlfriend, Sophie Davies, said the last text she received from her partner was "I love you so much", just hours before he was pronounced dead.

Listing the agreed facts in the case, the prosecution said death by carbon monoxide toxicity doesn't happen "immediately" and it takes "some time".

The prosecution continued to say earlier medical intervention may have "changed the outcome".

Mr Cray said: "He died of carbon monoxide poisoning. There was a fatal amount in the car and a fatal amount in Matthew's body."

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

The trial continues.