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  1. ITV Report

Former pole-dancer jailed for encouraging suicide

Natasha Gordon and Matthew Birkinshaw. Credit: PA

A former pole-dancer has been jailed for fours years for encouraging the suicide of a postman from Walsall.

Natasha Gordon, 44, made a suicide pact with Matthew Birkenshaw, 33, but then left him to die alone.

The pair had agreed to end their lives together after meeting online a day earlier.

But Gordon then got out of Mr Birkenshaw's car as he killed himself in December 2015 and failed to alert police who were just 450 metres away.

The ex-model, who was described as an "enthusiastic advocate" of suicide during her trial, then attempted to arrange other pacts within hours of Mr Birkinshaw's death.

Gordon had denied encouraging Mr Birkinshaw to take his own life but was convicted by a jury at Leicester Crown Court in December.

She showed no emotion as the judge Justice Cheema-Grubb ruled she could only pass an immediate custodial sentence.

This was a serious case because Matthew Birkinshaw actually took his own life after your encouragement.

I have found you misled him into believing you were genuine and firmly intent on committing suicide with him, although you were not fully committed.

– Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb

Matthew's mother and brother read our statements to the court saying they miss him every day. The judge said the torment Matthew felt has been passed on to those who knew him well.