Married Home Office boss who mixed pregnant lover’s drink with abortion drugs is jailed

Darren Burke, 43, attempted to serve Laura Slade, his five-year-old mistress, a glass of fortified orange juice after she told him she was pregnant and planned to keep the baby in December 2020

Darren Burke, 43, attempted to serve Laura Slade, his five-year-old mistress, a glass of fortified orange juice after she told him she was pregnant and planned to keep the baby in December 2020

A married Home Office boss who mixed his pregnant lover’s drink with abortive drugs has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Darren Burke, 43, attempted to serve Laura Slade, his mistress of five years, a glass of fortified orange juice after she told him she was pregnant and planned to have the baby in December 2020.

Ms Slade, who grew suspicious and refused to drink it, called the police and traces of mifepristone, a prescribed drug which causes abortions in early pregnancy, were found.

The day before the incident, Burke messaged Ms Slade asking if he could come over for a chat and bring her a ‘Starbucks latte or a tea’ which a judge said revealed he had made the decision to poke her.

Burke, who was fired from his job as deputy director of the Home Office’s emergency services mobile communications program, was found guilty by a jury of unlawfully administering poison to induce a miscarriage.







Darren Burke with his wife outside Isleworth Crown Court
(

Image:

Phil Harris)








The day before the incident, Burke texted Ms Slade asking if he could come over for a chat and bring her a “Starbucks latte or a tea”.
(

Image:

Phil Harris)


Sentencing him at Isleworth Crown Court today (Thursday), Judge Alastair Hammerton said: ‘Your actions in offering to come and bring a coffee are examples of your planning. Furthermore, your breach constitutes a violation of the trust Ms. Slade placed in you. Plus you committed this offense at Mis Slade’s own house.

“Furthermore, your failure to trust Mrs. Slade placed in you has impaired Mrs. Slade’s ability to trust others.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms Slade said it made her “sick” to think about what might have happened if she drank the juice.

Prosecutor Paul Jarvis said: ‘She started PTSD therapy in May 2021 to help deal with the betrayal she felt. She tells how the experience totally changed her approach to people.

“She has a hard time trusting people. She tries to think about her future to find out if she might be ready at some point for a relationship with someone else and finds it hard to imagine.

“She trusted him and feels like he let her down massively. She feels like she’s lost her best friend and doesn’t think she’ll get over what he did to her.







Darren Burke 41, arriving at the court where he was jailed today
(

Image:

Humphrey Nemar)


Jurors at Isleworth Crown Court heard Ms Slade, a single mother of two, tell Burke she was pregnant in November 2020 and there had been ‘extensive contact’ on Whatsapp.

Burke, from Windsor, Berkshire, sent a link to a local abortion clinic to Ms Slade on Whatsapp and said: ‘Babes, I understand it’s your body but you can’t keep it.

“It will be everyone, your children, my wife, your family, everyone. It’s bigger than you and me. I ask you please.

A week later Ms Slade went for a CT scan and told Burke she would keep the baby, leading to an ‘acrimonious’ conversation on Whatsapp where he said he didn’t think she was holding on account of his point of view.

On December 3, Burke messaged Ms Slade asking if he could come over for a chat the next day and bring her a “Starbucks latte or a tea”.







Burke, from Windsor, Berkshire, sent a link to a local abortion clinic to Ms Slade on Whatsapp and said: ‘Babes, I understand it’s your body but you can’t keep it’
(

Image:

internet unknown)


When he arrived, he offered her a cup of tea, which she refused, but he went into the kitchen and took a glass of water which she drank with him.

He came back with water and a glass of orange juice mixed with water.

Ms Slade said she refused because she had morning sickness and said in her evidence: ‘I felt like something was wrong, I can’t explain why I had that feeling.

“He was too cheerful and interested, trying to make small talk.

“He was very agitated walking between the front room and the kitchen and that’s when he offered me a drink again.”






Burke asked if she was going to drink the orange juice.

The court heard before leaving, Burke asked again if she was going to drink the orange juice before taking it away.

Ms Slade said after she left she saw the glass in the sink and noticed ‘white pellets’ on the rim that looked like washing powder.

She said: ‘I looked down and could see everything sitting down there. I put my finger in it and rubbed it and there were definitely some granules.

The court heard she texted Burke asking if he had put anything in her drink, to which he replied, ‘F*** off. I mixed your water with juice.

In his testimony, the father-of-one said he had the pill with him and was going to throw it in Ms Slade’s bin, but was worried his children or his dog would find it.







Burke arriving at court with his wife
(

Image:

Humphrey Nemar)








Burke lost his job
(

Image:

Humphrey Nemar)


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 with the cup.”

The court heard Burke admitted buying the drugs on the internet for £200, but police were unable to trace the order as he deleted his entire search history.

Judge Hammerton said it was an example of Burke’s attempts to “cover up or conceal evidence”.

Defending Burke, David Spens QC said his client had already been punished as he lost his ‘extremely well-paid job’ at the Home Office and his family was forced to relocate.

He said: ‘Her actions have not only impacted Ms Slade, but her loved ones. His wife happily forgave him.

“He was suffering from depression at the time. It rather adds to the pathetic nature of his behavior on the day. It’s a combination of being laid off due to the pandemic and a number of personal family issues.

But Judge Hammerton said: ‘Contrary to your solicitor’s arguments, I do not consider your attempt to administer mifepristone to be amateurish or pathetic.

The court heard Ms Slade had a miscarriage a few weeks later, but it was unrelated to the incident.

Another charge of supplying a poison to induce a miscarriage was ordered to lie on file.

Burke was also barred from contacting Ms Slade by a restraining order.

Read more

Read more

Back To Top