A married civil servant accused of mixing his pregnant mistress’ drink with abortion pills only dissolved them in orange juice to throw away, a court heard.
Home Office worker Darren Burke, 43, told Isleworth Crown Court he chose the method to get rid of the pills because he was worried about the safety of his child and his dog mistress once she told him she wanted to keep the baby.
Burke is accused of attempting to drug Laura Slade with mifepristone, a prescription drug used to terminate pregnancies.
On December 4, 2020, three weeks after finding out she was pregnant, Burke went to visit Ms Slade at her flat in Chiswick.
He said he got the pills for around £200 after discussing the option of an abortion with Ms Slade.
He told police after his arrest that he kept the pills in his car so his mother, who he was living with at the time, couldn’t find them.
Laura Slade fell pregnant during an affair with Darren Burke (pictured), 43, after they met at a nightclub
Burke (pictured), of Old Windsor, Berkshire denies illegally supplying poison and administering poison with the intention of causing a miscarriage
“Once we had the conversation, she was happy with that option, so I went and got it,” Burke told the court.
Burke said he went around and only brought the pills into Ms Slade’s flat because he kept them in the glove box with his keys and wallet and picked it all up. same time.
But once he found out Mrs Slade hadn’t changed her mind about having the baby, he said he threw the pills into the kitchen, dissolving them in the glass and shaking them. pouring into the sink.
He told the court they had a 30-40 minute long “emotional” conversation about what to do with the baby.
“Was there a point when you realized she wasn’t going to change her mind about having the baby?” David Spens QC, defending, asked.
“Yeah, when we first sat down I could see it in his eyes.”
Burke said they agreed to have the baby and he would go and tell his wife he had been a “bad husband”.
He took the drink he had prepared for her into the kitchen and threw the pills in the trash.
“I had the pills and I threw them in the bin and then I looked and thought, this is not a responsible way to dispose of the meds, I have to do it properly.
“So I picked them up and put them in the sink but they were big enough they wouldn’t come down.”
“The sink was quite full. I took one of the glasses that were there, used it to break one of the pills and washed it in the glass.
Burke said he thought he remembered crushing three pills and when Mr Spens asked him why he hadn’t left them in the bin, he replied: ‘I was worried his kids would get them.
The court has already heard how Burke was accused of crushing tablets of mifepristone (example pictured) – a drug used to terminate pregnancies – into the glass.
“I had been told that her son was autistic, on the spectrum. In addition, the dog likes to eat anything, he can sometimes put himself in the trash. I was worried about the safety of everyone in the apartment.
Burke began a five-year affair with Mrs. Slade after meeting her at a nightclub.
‘How many times would you have to lie to keep your affair a secret?’ Paul Jarvis, pursuing, asked Burke.
“Obviously I lied to my wife when I went to see Laura, that’s the only time I lied,” Burke replied.
The prosecutor asked, “Is lying easy for you?”
Burke replied, “No.”
Mr Jarvis asked: ‘Does five years of keeping this secret make you a good liar?’
Burke replied, “I’m not a good liar.”
Mr. Jarvis asked Burke where he bought the mifepristone, but he said he couldn’t remember, nor did he remember when he bought them.
Burke also couldn’t say what kind of website he bought the pills from or what country he bought them from.
“Did you have any idea what was in those pills you were buying?” asked Mr. Jarvis.
Burke replied, “I guess what it says on the package.”
The lawyer asked: ‘But you couldn’t tell us where you bought them. How can you tell it’s not some dodgy drug dealer selling them out of the back of a van?
“I can’t answer that,” Burke replied.
After Burke’s arrest, police seized two laptops and two phones.
They were able to access her iPhone X and search it for references to “mifepristone” and “abortion,” but found nothing.
They also found that he deleted his browsing history from November 6 to December 25, 2020 and his search history from October 29 to December 17.
When Mr Jarvis asked Burke why he deleted his search history, he said he didn’t want his wife to find out he was researching abortion options.
“These were not pills that could be dissolved,” Mr Jarvis said. “Did it occur to you that what you were going to have to do, without her realizing it, was to break the tablets and put them in a drink, and you should put them in a cloudy drink .
“No,” Burke replied.
Mr Jarvis asked: ‘Is that why you offered to take a ride with a latte or tea?’
“It was an olive branch,” Burke replied.
Mr Jarvis asked: ‘You told the police these pills had been in the glove compartment of your car for some time. Have you decided to choose them and bring them to the apartment?
“It was reactive,” Burke replied. “I grabbed them with my wallet and put them in my pocket. I took everything before going up.
“I thought at the time that if the conversation came up, then they were there…I was hoping it would come up, but it didn’t.”
Mr. Jarvis: “Did you really think that if this conversation took place in her apartment, she would be willing to take the pills you bought on the Internet?”
Burke: “I don’t know… I bought them online, I can only assume I would have bought them from a reputable place. We would have talked about it, where I got them.
“You knew full well that if she had found out you had come into the apartment with those pills, she would have sent you packing,” Mr Jarvis said.
Burke replied, “I had them in case the conversation happened, but it didn’t.”
He said that once he found out Mrs Slade hadn’t changed her mind about having the baby, he threw the pills into the kitchen dissolving them in the glass and pouring them out in the sink.
When asked why he hadn’t washed the glass while he was in the kitchen for three to five minutes, he told Mr. Jarvis: “Would you like to do that?”
“That would be a good thing to do,” replied the prosecutor. “The reality is, you couldn’t afford to leave that glass of orange juice on the table in case she found out what was in it.”
“No,” Burke said.
Mr Jarvis also pointed out that there were other ways to dispose of the tablets if they were still in the package when he left, to which Burke replied: “I made the decision on-the -field.”
He also asked Burke why he didn’t explain to Ms Slade that he had dumped the pills in the sink when she texted him asking what was in the drink.
“I couldn’t do that because I was driving,” he said. “I couldn’t text because it would be dangerous.”
“But you managed to say f*ck off,” Mr. Jarvis said. “And everything is grammatically correct.
“The truth is that to this day, you desperately wanted her fired, but you knew she wouldn’t do it on her own and you knew that all your efforts to persuade her had failed.
“Out of sheer selfishness, you decided to cheat on her and that plan also failed.”
Burke replied, “I didn’t do anything you’re accusing me of. I had no plan.
Mr Spens explained to Burke the WhatsApp messages he exchanged with Ms Slade in mid-November.
“You asked her how she got pregnant?” He asked.
Burke, deputy director of the Home Office’s emergency services mobile communications program, replied: ‘Yes. I said how did you get pregnant while on the pill and she said it can happen sometimes.
When, in an interview, the police asked about his reaction to her pregnancy, he said: ‘I was obviously shocked, I thought, holy shit.
“I trusted him to say, I’m on the pill.
“There was a lot of back and forth, do you want the baby, don’t you want the baby.
‘She was up and down about it,’ she said: ‘I booked a clinic which I’ve used before. It was a roller coaster of emotions.
“Honestly, I didn’t mean to, but some days you think he’s a person…”
Burke, of Old Windsor, Berks denies illegally supplying poison and administering poison with intent to induce a miscarriage.
The trial continues.