Mum jailed for killing unborn child at eight months using DIY pills from the internet

Natalie Towers
Natalie Towers

A mum who performed her own DIY abortion using pills she bought over the internet has been put behind bars.

Natalie Towers took misoprostol medication to induce a miscarriage when she was between 32 and 34 weeks pregnant.

Her baby boy, later named Luke Clark, was found head-first down the toilet when called paramedics to her home in November last year.

Towers, of Adamson Street, Shildon, County Durham, pleaded guilty to administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage.

Mr Justice Jay jailed Towers, who has a child from an earlier pregnancy, which she also concealed, for two-and-a-half-years.

The 24-year-old, who kept her head bowed throughout the hearing, cried, wailed and collapsed in the dock when she was told she was going to prison for what she did.

The judge told her: "Despite attempts made by the paramedics and hospital, the child could not be saved.

"Both paramedics were obviously distressed by what they saw. I am satisfied the baby was already dead when delivered or placed in the

toilet.

"This case has nothing to do with the general immorality or otherwise of termination of unborn fetuses.

"The law is clear, you must have been aware, no doubt, in line with your internet searches, it was open to you to seek termination at any stage

before 24 weeks.

"At 24 weeks there is a fair chance of survival if born premature.

"Your child, at 32-34 weeks had a very good chance of survival but had no chance once you administered this drug.

"This offence does involve extinguishing life about to begin."

The judge said while it was clear Towers knew she was pregnant, he accepted she would not have been sure exactly how far along she was.

Prosecutor Sarah Mallett told the court Towers' partner, who she lived with, had been unaware she was pregnant.

Towers was alone in the house last November when she called for an ambulance, saying she was having a miscarriage.

When paramedics arrived, she said she had stomach pain and heavy bleeding but "did not appear distressed" and was "happy and settled".

It was, at that stage, thought she had had an early stage miscarriage.

The court heard the paramedics gave her advice and when one started walking towards the toilet, Towers commented, "It's dead, I know it's dead".

Miss Mallett added: "The paramedic was very shocked. What she saw there was a baby, head first in the toilet.

"She took such steps as she could to help the baby. She said he felt warm, pale, not blue.

"He was small but fully formed. She checked for signs of life but there was none found."

Post mortem examination of the baby confirmed he was between 32 and 34 weeks gestation and had been stillborn.

Miss Mallett added: "There was no indication of any naturally occurring trigger for labour or delivery.

"At that gestation, a normally formed fetus would be expected to survive, with appropriate and timely medical treatment."

The court heard tests revealed Towers had taken a "massive dose" of misoprostol to trigger the miscarriage.

Packaging for 92 tablets were found during a police search of her home but just 13 whole or part pills remained.

Towers initially denied knowing she was pregnant but later confessed that she suspected she was but "could not deal with the stress".

A search of her computer revealed her visit to an online drugstore in relation to "abortion pills" and inquiries on how she cold delete her search

history.

Another search was in relation to babies born at 24 weeks.

Miss Mallett added: "Natalie Towers was concerned about how she could completely delete her private internet browsing history and what the police would search for."

Daniel Cordey, defending, said Towers is "struggling to come to terms with what she has done"

Mr Cordey added: "She would not have done what she did if she had been thinking fully, rationally, at the time.

"She realised she must have been pregnant. What she submits is, she didn't realise she was as far pregnant as 32-34 weeks.

"She is remorseful, she greatly regrets her actions."

The court heard Towers has a history of emotional and psychological problems.