Married civil servant spiked pregnant lover's orange juice with abortion drug after affair

A MARRIED Home Office boss spiked his pregnant lover's orange juice with an abortion drug in a bid to conceal his affair, a court heard.

Civil servant Darren Burke tried to convince his mistress Laura Slade to terminate her pregnancy to keep his double life secret from his wife – but she refused.

Isleworth Crown Court heard how the 43-year-old, who is married with a child, started an affair with Ms Slade in 2015.

She discovered she was pregnant in November 2020, and messaged Burke on WhatsApp to tell him the news.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told the hearing: "There was some discussion about the possibility of Ms Slade having a termination and it is clear from messages that Mr Burke did not want her to have the baby."

Burke begged Ms Slade to have an abortion and texted her saying: "Babes I understand it's your body but we can't keep it."

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"No you mean you can't," replied Ms Slade.

Burke sent her a link to an abortion clinic and asked: "Shall we book this?"

Mr Jarvis said: "His motive was obvious.

"If Ms Slade had kept the baby then his double life would have come crashing down around him because there was no way he could have kept that child a secret from his wife."

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Ms Slade decided she wanted to keep the baby, and the pair arranged to meet at her home on December 4.

Burke went to the kitchen and returned with two glasses.

"He put them down beside me," Ms Slade said.

"One looked like orange juice and one was water. I asked him, what is that.

"He said, I know you are feeling sick so I made some orange juice and water for you. I said I'm not going to drink that.

"He kept on asking me how much money I wanted, I said I can't have this conversation. I just wanted him gone."

Ms Slade added that she told Burke to leave, and on his way out he asked if she was going to drink the juice.

She refused, and Burke poured it down the sink and left.

"I waited for him to leave, locked the door and then ran to the sink. I needed to check that glass," Ms Slade said.

"I just knew something was wrong but I did not want to believe it."

After he had left she found a powdery residue around the rim of the glass.

Mr Jarvis said: "His plan was to break the tablets down into a drink where the grains would not be obvious to Ms Slade. His plan failed."

Burke, deputy director of the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme, claimed he had only bought the pills online for around £200 in case Ms Slade wanted to take them.

He said he poured them away because he was concerned the drugs could harm her child or her dog if he left them in the bin.

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The jury at Isleworth Crown Court convicted Burke of administering a poison to cause a miscarriage but are still considering a verdict on the remaining charge of unlawfully supplying a poison.

Tragically, Ms Slade lost the baby in a miscarriage though no link was made with Burke's actions.

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