Woman jailed after using poison to terminate pregnancy at eight months
A woman who took poison she bought on the internet to terminate her unborn son has been jailed.
Natalie Towers, 24, of Adams Street, Shildon, County Durham, collapsed into tears in the dock at Newcastle Crown Court when she was sentenced to serve two years and six months behind bars.
Mr Justice Jay credited Towers for admitting the charge of taking poison in an attempt to force a miscarriage but said that a custodial sentenced needed to be passed and could not be suspended.
Towers was 32-34 weeks pregnant when she bought and took a drug that brought on contractions last November.
When she began to feel unwell she called 999 to say she was having a miscarriage and was bleeding.
Paramedics arrived on the scene to find Towers complaining of stomach pain.
Prosecutors say that the 24-year-old did not seem to be distressed or concerned.
When one of the paramedics went to look in the toilet Towers said, 'It's dead, I know it's dead'.
The female paramedic found a baby 'head first in the toilet'.
Attempts were made to resuscitate the baby, named Luke, but there were no signs of life.
The cause of death was oxygen starvation, the court heard.
Towers was brought to the hospital and questioned by the police who said she was calm but worried that she would be imprisoned for what she had done.
A few hours later she spoke to another officer and 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".
After further questioning she revealed she had bought the pills online and Googled how to delete her search history.
Barrister for defence, Dan Cordey said that the 24-year-old was suffering from 'depressive episodes' at the time.
'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.'
'"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'."
Mr Justice Jay said that the case had nothing to do with the 'general immorality' of the termination of unborn foetuses and that Towers, through her internet searches, was well aware of other methods of termination before 24 weeks gestation.
He said that he baby would have had a good chance of survival at 32-34 gestation but had no chance once she administered the drug.