Home Office boss who spiked Chiswick lover’s drink with abortion pills is convicted

Image above: Darren Burke

A Home Office boss accused of spiking his lover’s drink with abortion pills has been found guilty of administering a poison.

Darren Burke, a deputy director at the Home Office, was accused of trying to cause Chiswick resident Laura Slade’s miscarriage, after adding the abortion drug to her orange juice.

Burke was accused of using illegally procured Mifepristone, a prescription drug used to terminate pregnancies, and crushing it in a glass of orange juice which he offered to Slade.

Ms Slade said at her flat in Chiswick Burke was “very flustered” after repeatedly offering her something to drink, and returned from the kitchen with an orange juice.

She refused to drink the juice, which was laced with mifepristone, on 4 December 2020. Ms Slade had an unconnected miscarriage weeks later, Isleworth crown court was told.

“Its your body but we can’t keep it” Burke told Slade

Jurors saw WhatsApp messages showing how Burke pleaded with Ms Slade to have an abortion citing the practical difficulties of keeping the baby.

He told her he would not leave his wife and could not be on the birth certificate because he could not be a part-time dad.

The pair had begun a secret affair after meeting in a nightclub in Kingston and after five years of sleeping together Ms Slade discovered she was pregnant, messaging Burke that she had a ‘”spanner in the works”.

“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,” said prosecutor Paul Jarvis.

He begged Ms Slade to have an abortion and texted her saying: “Babes I understand it’s your body but we can’t keep it.”

“No you mean you can’t,” replied Ms Slade.

Image above: Isleworth Crown Court

Decision unlawfully supplying a poison still pending

David Spens QC, defending, told the court in his closing speech:

“Mr Burke told you that he purchased an abortion tablet as a possible option after a phone call… That is his evidence. She, for her part, denies that there was any such discussion. Mr Burke told you that on December 4 he encouraged Ms Slade to drink diluted orange juice, that he told her she needed to keep her vitamins up.

“Ms Slade told the police that he was persistent that she should have a drink. Her evidence in fact is that he only asked her twice to drink the orange juice. Firstly when he brought it for her. The second time was as he was making to leave and she said no. And the important point is that he asked her, he did not tell her.

“But by the time she is reporting this to the police his asking has become persistent. These matters are in dispute, the resolution of which will help you decide your verdicts.”

He denied the charge but was convicted of administering a poison to cause a miscarriage.

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Senior civil servant spiked Chiswick woman’s drink with anti-abortion drug, court hears

See also: Met Police to monitor officers’ phones and emails for ‘alarming’ language

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