Shildon woman jailed over poison termination

Newcastle Crown Court
Image caption Natalie Towers was jailed for two and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court

A woman who used poison to terminate her pregnancy has been jailed for two and a half years.

Natalie Towers, 24, of Adams Street, Shildon, County Durham, had earlier admitted a charge of administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage while 32-34 weeks pregnant.

Newcastle Crown Court was told she bought the substance over the internet.

Judge Mr Justice Jay gave her credit for pleading guilty but said she must serve a custodial sentence.

"This offence does involve extinguishing a life about to begin," he said.

Towers was living with her boyfriend in November 2014 when she bought and took a drug which caused strong contractions, the court heard.

After she felt unwell, she rang 999 to say she was having a miscarriage.

Paramedics arrived to find Towers in the bathroom complaining of stomach pain when she said "It's dead, I know it's dead", the court heard.

'Remorse and regret'

Strenuous efforts were made to resuscitate the baby, who had been named Luke, the judge was told. The cause of death was oxygen starvation.

Towers initially claimed she was unaware of her pregnancy and had not felt any movements, then confessed she took tablets although "she didn't think she was that far along", Sarah Mallett, prosecuting, said.

After she was arrested, she told police she had searched for the drug on the internet and ordered it without researching it.

Mr Justice Jay said: "The law in this country is quite clear, you must have been fully aware no doubt, in line with your internet searches. It was open to you to seek termination at any stage before 24 weeks gestation."

Dan Cordey, defending, said: "She is remorseful, she greatly regrets her actions... that remorse and regret is something that will live with her for the rest of her life.

"In her own words, she said 'When I look back I think it's awful. I hate myself, I hate it and I know it's my fault'."

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