A British woman faces four years behind bars after allegedly backing out of a suicide pact she had coerced an online acquaintance into entering, according to the BBC.
The other party, 31-year-old postal worker Matthew Birkinshaw, reportedly went on to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning as the two had planned.
As the New York Post reported, a jury heard testimony that 44-year-old Natasha Gordon befriended Birkinshaw in an online forum and almost immediately became an “enthusiastic advocate” of mutual suicide.
Within hours, she allegedly coaxed him into agreeing to take his own life, along with her, the following day.
“I really can’t wait to go tomorrow,” she reportedly wrote in a text message to Birkinshaw. “– hope you don’t change your mind.”
The pair reportedly met up in December 2015 and drove to Gordon’s home. From there, officials say they traveled to an area water reservoir, the prearranged location for the double suicide.
Police reportedly became involved when Gordon sent a text message about the plans to a friend, who in turn alerted authorities.
According to reports, Gordon ultimately acknowledged the pact, along with the fact that Birkinshaw was already dead, in a police interview at her home. She led officers to the reservoir that evening, where they found his body inside of his vehicle.
The court also heard emotional testimony from Birkinshaw’s loved ones, including his mother, who recalled his final words to her.
“Give me a hug mom, I’ll be back tomorrow,” he said to her, according to a court statement.
Several other individuals testified that the defendant had initiated similar online conversations with them. At least six people said she discussed suicide pacts with them, including some who said she “pressured” them into agreeing to such a deadly arrangement.
Birkinshaw had reportedly solicited a suicide partner in online conversations prior to his death, a jury heard. Gordon reportedly began using some of the same forums following her previous suicide attempt.
A jury recently found Gordon guilty of encouraging suicide.
Jurors heard how she had discussed pacts and methods with at least six other people online — with several claiming she had “pressured” them into entering agreements.
“This is a serious case as Mr. Birkinshaw actually took his own life after this encouragement and I find that you misled him into believing that you were firmly intent on committing suicide with him even though you were not fully committed,” Justice Bobbie Cheema-Grubb told Gordon.
[Featured image: Natasha Gordon/Leicester Police]