A woman who ingested poison she bought online to bring on an illegal late-term abortion has been jailed. She was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant with her son Luke when she took the poison, which brought on a miscarriage, resulting in his death.
Natalie Towers, 24, of Adams Street, Shildon, County Durham, collapsed wailing in the dock as she was sentenced to two years and six months jail time. Mr Justice Jay, presiding over the trial gave her credit for admitting the offence at a previous hearing, but insisted that a custodial sentence was necessary and could not be suspended, the Telegraph has reported.
“This offence does involve extinguishing life about to begin,” he said.
The court heard how Towers was living with her boyfriend last year when she bought and took the drug with the intent of ending her pregnancy. Having taken the drug, she went to the bathroom and called 999, telling the call handler that she was having a miscarriage and complaining of bleeding.
Sarah Mallett, prosecuting, said that the first paramedic to arrive had found her complaining of stomach pains, but did not find her upset or distressed. A second paramedic went to look in the toilet, whereupon Towers said “It’s dead, I know it’s dead.” Strenuous efforts were made to resuscitate the baby, later named Luke, but subsequent tests showed he had been starved of oxygen and could not have been revived.
At the hospital Towers spoke to a police officer and appeared calm and unemotional, but admitted to being concerned that she might be jailed. Following her arrest, she claimed that she had bought the drug without reading up on its effects, and that she “didn’t think she was that far along,” said Miss Mallett.
However, it was found that she had researched how to delete her internet search history
Dan Cordey, defending, said that it was a “very unusual case.
“She is remorseful, she greatly regrets her actions, she is a young lady, she was 23 at the time, now only 24, and that remorse and regret is something that will live with her for the rest of her life,” he told the court.
“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’.”
He said that she had been suffering from “depressive episodes” at the time, that she was emotionally unstable and that she had “a tendency to act without thinking”.
Mr Justice Jay said: “The case has nothing to do with the general immorality or otherwise of the termination of unborn foetuses.
“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.”
At 32-34 weeks Luke would have had a “very good chance of survival, but had no chance once you administered this drug”, he concluded.
Towers has one other child from a previous pregnancy which she concealed.