You would probably agree that we live in a world that has some pretty strange and sometimes even dark sides, some of which are kept a secret from the society; others are a widely known secret, but still people do not talk about it.
A lot of troubled, sick, or just plain weird people live among the rest or us; even if they need some kind of help, there is often nobody to offer assistance because they do not reveal their issues. Instead, they live through their pain and suffering all alone.
Things changed when the Internet became a huge part of our lives. Any troubled human being now has the chance to seek help anonymously, and sometimes things take a good turn for them. Unfortunately, the Internet has many dark sides—in many cases, you never really know who you are talking to or what exactly is going on behind what appears to be just an innocent conversation.
Sadly, there are people who abuse others on the Web. It can be done directly by any means of bullying, but the worst kind of bad influence comes from those who pretend that they understand and want to help you, but they do the opposite instead. Those people gain the trust of their victims, and after that it is rather easy for them to do whatever they please.
The following story is about 31-year-old Matthew Birkinshaw, who committed suicide after he allegedly formed a pact with the ex-pole dancer Natasha Gordon to take their lives together; she decided that she did not want to die and backed out of the pact at the last moment, thus leaving the young man to die alone. On the 17th of December 2015, the 44-year-old woman got out of Birkinshaw’s car before he took his own life.
She was later described to be very enthusiastic and persuasive about suicide. During the trial, a text message she sent to Birkinshaw was presented to the jury. In the message she wrote to him, she said that she could hardly wait until the next day when they were planning to take their lives, adding that she hoped he would not hesitate or change his mind. If this sounds evil to you, we have to add that police investigation revealed that the former model and dancer had made contact with other men before Birkinshaw with the intention of creating similar pacts, likely intending to push those men into killing themselves.
Birkinshaw was working at the Royal Mail in Walsall. His body was found at 7:24 p.m. in his Fiat, parked near Rutland Water in Oakham.
Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb sentenced Gordon yesterday, and based upon the investigation and the evidence, she said that the case was an extremely serious one and that Birkinshaw would not have committed suicide if it hadn’t been for Gordon’s encouragement and convincing.
The judge added that Gordon intended to mislead Birkinshaw into believing that she was actually going to kill herself alongside him, but she was not committed to such pact from the very beginning, unlike Birkinshaw. Gordon was apparently “self-centered” and that was the driving force behind her cruel intentions.
Matthew Birkinshaw’s mother, Margaret, made a statement in the court room and she understandably had a very hard time holding back her tears. Mrs. Birkinshaw said that the loss of her son was something she could never describe with words and the empty space left after his death could not be filled by anything.
The devastated mother of the victim added that he was only 31 when he took his own life just a week before the Christmas holidays, and she couldn’t help but ask herself constantly if things could have turned out differently if she had called her son on the day of his death. In his last words to his mother, which were said to her the day before his death, Birkinshaw asked his mother for a hug and promised to be back the next day.
Mrs. Birkinshaw described her son as a fun character who loved to laugh. He apparently was very intelligent—but also extremely sensitive—which seemed to create some difficulties for him in life, especially when someone wanted to harm him intentionally; all he really needed, she said, was the right kind of support.
Natasha Gordon, who lives in Peterborough’s Paston Ridings, denied all accusations against her. She claimed that she did not encourage Matthew Birkinshaw in any way to commit suicide, but Leicester Crown Court’s jury nonetheless decided that she was guilty and convicted her.
After the conviction was a fact, the Crown Prosecution Service, represented by Michael Gregory, stated that all of the evidence presented indicated that Gordon managed to encourage Birkinshaw to take his own life. Therefore, she broke the law. The analysis of Gordon’s activity on the internet apparently was enough to demonstrate how exactly did she took advantage of Birkinshaw’s vulnerable nature; instead of helping him, she pushed him towards to the decision he made.
It looks like Gordon got what she deserved, but it will not bring back Matthew Birkinshaw. If you ever feel frustrated or depressed, be careful with whom you chat; as we mentioned earlier, the Internet is probably not the best place to seek help or support—you never know who is on the other end of the computer screen or what their intentions are.