Married civil servant put abortion drugs in pregnant lovers orange juice

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A senior civil servant spiked his pregnant lover's drink with abortion drugs after she told him she was expecting and planned to keep the baby.

Darren Burke, 43, was found guilty of trying to serve Laura Slade, his mistress of five years, with a glass of orange juice spiked with mifepristone, a prescribed medication that brings about abortions in the early stages of pregnancy.

After spotting "white granules" round the rim of the glass, Ms Slade texted Burke asking if he had put something in her drink to which he replied: "F*** off. I mixed your water with juice", a court heard.

Burke told the court he bought the drugs for “around £200” on the internet as Ms Slade seemed unsure about keeping the child.

The father-of-one denied unlawfully administering a poison to procure a miscarriage, but was unanimously found guilty by a jury during a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.

He continues to deny a separate offence of unlawfully supplying a poison and the jury will resume deliberations tomorrow (Wednesday, May 4).

Jurors heard how Burke asked Ms Slade if he could come to visit the next morning, and offered to bring her a “Starbucks latte or a tea”.

Ms Slade said she declined because she was suffering from morning sickness at the time, but had a "gut feeling" something wasn't right.

“He’s very particular about what coffee he likes and I always had it in my house," she told the court.

When Burke arrived he asked if she wanted a cup of tea, which Ms Slade refused, but he went into the kitchen and took a glass of water she was already drinking with him.

A "flustered" Burke asked again if she was going to drink the orange juice before taking it back into the kitchen and then leaving.

Burke told jurors he had used the glass to crush the tablets in and rinse them down the sink when it became clear Ms Slade did not want an abortion, as they were "too big" to put in the bin.

He said: "I took one of the glasses that was there and used it to break up some of the big tablets and washed it round with the cup."

The court heard Burke first met Ms Slade at a nightclub in 2005 and their friendship “evolved” into an affair after he got back in touch with her on Facebook in 2015.

Burke would tell his wife he was working at the office while at Ms Slade’s flat, and would pretend to be at overnight functions when he slept over, the court heard.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told jurors: “His motive was obvious. If Ms Slade had kept the baby then his double life would have come crashing down around him. There is no way he could have kept the existence of that child a secret from his wife and family.”

Burke was remanded into custody after the verdict and did not react as it was read out. David Spens QC, defending Burke, said his client was aware he could face an immediate custodial sentence.

Judge Alastair Hammerton said the charge carries a sentence of "immediate imprisonment of some length".

He added: "Whilst it is certainly true that it would be administratively easier for the defendant to obtain a report while on bail it seems to be having regard to the inevitable nature of the sentence that the only appropriate course of action is to remand Mr Burke in custody."

The jury will continue to deliberate tomorrow (Wednesday, May 4) on a further charge of supplying a poison to procure a miscarriage.

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