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

Image above: Darren Burke – accused of spiking his lover’s drink with an an abortion drug

A woman who became pregnant during an affair with a senior civil servant has accused him of offering her a drink spiked with an abortion drug.

Darren Burke, a deputy director for the emergency services mobile communications programme at the Home Office, is accused of trying to cause Chiswick resident Laura Slade’s miscarriage.

On December 3, 2020, Ms Slade said she had “an instant gut feeling something was not right” when Mr Burke offered to buy her a drink from Starbucks, something which he usually did not do.

The following day, he arrived at her flat in Chiswick and was “very flustered” while offering her a drink again, returning from the kitchen with an orange juice.

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

Image above: a packet of Mifepristone – abortion pills

Accused ‘sent links to an abortion clinic and abortion pill’

Jurors heard Mr Burke encouraged her to terminate the pregnancy and sent her links to an abortion clinic and abortion pill, after she fell pregnant during the course of their five-year affair.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, Slade said: “It was never really an option for me but I knew I had to consider everyone else around me and the impact it would have on them.”

She said she was “very clear” that she did not want an abortion, adding: “I told him when the due date was and that I was keeping my child.”

Slade said she had told him she was suffering from morning sickness before he arrived at her flat in Chiswick on 4 December. “He was very flustered, walking between the front room and the kitchen and was offering me a drink again,” she said.

She told Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday (26 April): “I just looked at it and looked at him and said: ‘Well I’m not drinking that. I’ve told you I’ve got morning sickness’.”

After saying he did not want to be on the birth certificate, Ms Slade he again asked her to drink the juice, to which she said “f*** no” and locked herself in the bathroom with the drink. The prosecution alleges that she found a white powder on the inside of the glass and she called the police the following day to report her suspicions.

Image above: Isleworth Crown Court (Photo: Google Maps)

Mr Burke denies charges

Burke, from Windsor, denies obtaining the drug with intent and attempting to administer it to procure a miscarriage.

David Spens QC, defending, suggested Burke was not “insisting” Slade drink the orange juice but had simply asked her twice because he was being “caring”.

The barrister asked Ms Slade:

“Did he explain that he had brought the abortion tablets with him and when it was obvious you were determined to keep the baby he then ground them up and flushed them down the sink?”

Slade replied: “No, I disagree.”

The trial continues.

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