Man laced pregnant lover’s drink with abortion drug to protect double life

A married Home Office worker “laced his pregnant lover’s drink with an abortion drug” to prevent his “double life from crashing down”, a court heard.

Darren Burke, 43, from Windsor, Berkshire allegedly tried to serve his mistress Laura Slade a spiked glass of orange juice during a discussion about how much he would pay in child maintenance.

Ms Slade, who became suspicious and refused to drink it, later called police to test the glass, it is claimed.

Isleworth Crown Court heard forensics found traces of mifepristone, a medication prescribed by doctors to bring about abortions in the early stages of pregnancy, on the rim of the glass.

Burke, who has been suspended from his role as deputy director for the emergency services mobile communications programme at the Home Office, denies supplying a poison and unlawfully administering it to procure a miscarriage.

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.”

The court heard the pair started an affair in 2015. Burke has one child with his wife and Ms Slade has two children from another relationship, the court heard.

Mr Jarvis said: “Mr Burke’s wife was, it seems, unaware of his relationship with Ms Slade.

Jurors heard Ms Slade decided she wanted to keep the baby, which was due in July. It is alleged he did not want to keep the child.

The court heard Burke messaged Ms Slade asking if he could come to visit her the next morning and asked if she would like him to bring her a “Starbucks latte or a tea”.

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Mr Jarvis said: “It was unusual as he had never made an offer like that before.”

When he arrived the defendant allegedly asked Ms Slade if she wanted a cup of tea, which she refused, but he went into the kitchen and came back with two glasses.

The first contained water and the other a mixture of orange squash and water, the court heard, while Burke himself had a cup of tea.

Mr Jarvis said that during their meeting, "Mr Burke's main interest was ensuring Mis Slade drank that orange and water mixture. But she would not".

The prosecutor added: "His persistence that she should drink it had troubled her.”

Ms Slade is said to have seen a “residue in the rim of the glass” and texted Burke asking him about it.

He denied lacing the drink and asked Ms Slade if she trusted him, the court heard.

Ms Slade reported her suspicions to police the next day and forensic tests found traces of mifepristone.

Jurors heard Burke said in a police interview that he had bought the abortion drug online “incase Ms Slade decided she wanted to abort the baby".

The court heard Ms Slade miscarried the baby on Christmas Day but it was not suggested this was related to the incident.

The trial continues.

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