Woman found guilty of encouraging suicide

Issued on 1/12/17 at 3:32 p.m.

A 44-year-old woman who left a man to die after pulling out of a suicide pact has been convicted of encouraging him to take his own life.

Within hours of coming into contact with Matthew Birkinshaw on an internet forum, Natasha Gordon had arranged to meet him the next day – claiming she would take her own life at the same time as him.

On 17 December 2015 the pair travelled together to Rutland Water where only 31-year-old Matthew, from Walsall, went ahead with the pact.

Gordon, of Paston Ridings, Paston, in Peterborough, denied encouraging Matthew to commit suicide but was found guilty of the charge today Friday (1 December) following a six day trial at Leicester Crown Court.

The court heard how, after arriving at Rutland Water, Gordon had sent her partner a message informing him of plans to end her life. He subsequently raised the alarm with police and officers were sent to locate her in Rutland.

However, Gordon had left Matthew to go through with the pact and failed to tell police about him when they arrived at the scene.

It was only after she was returned home to Peterborough that Gordon disclosed how she had travelled to the area to commit suicide alongside another man and officers returned to Rutland where Matthew was found.

Detective Constable Michelle Preston, who helped lead the investigation, said: “Matthew Birkinshaw was a young man who had his whole life ahead of him and Gordon was a woman who quickly gained his trust by exploiting his vulnerability.

“What became clear during the course of our investigation was that Gordon had tried to encourage others to take their own life. And we found evidence that she was attempting to engage two people in conversation about suicide shortly after being located by police in Rutland.

“The death of a young man in such circumstances is tragic, but Gordon’s blatant disregard for Matthew’s welfare that day is what has made this case even more distressing for all involved.

“Matthew’s family are still coming to terms with the loss of their beloved son and have dealt with what has happened with nothing but dignity.

“I know I speak as not only the investigating officer, but on behalf of the family, when I urge anyone who may be in crisis to reach out to someone – if that isn’t a friend or a family member, there are specialist organisations who can provide the support or counsel you might need at that moment in time.”

Support services are available through a number of organisations, including: - National charity Samaritans – by calling 116123 or visiting https://www.samaritans.org/

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