A senior official spiked his pregnant lover’s drink with abortive drugs after telling her she was expecting and planning to keep the baby.
Darren Burke, 43, was convicted of attempting to serve Laura Slade, his mistress of five years, with a glass of orange juice fortified with mifepristone, a prescribed drug that causes abortions in early pregnancy.
After spotting “white pellets” on the rim of the glass, Ms Slade texted Burke asking if he had put anything in his drink, to which he replied: “F*** off. I mixed your water with juice,” a court heard.
Burke told the court he bought the drugs for “around £200” on the internet because Ms Slade seemed unsure about keeping the child.
The father-of-one has denied unlawfully administering poison to induce a miscarriage but was found unanimously guilty by a jury at a trial at Isleworth Crown Court.
He continues to deny a separate offense of unlawfully supplying poison and the jury will resume their deliberations tomorrow (Wednesday May 4).
Jurors heard how Burke asked Ms Slade if he could come visit the next morning and offered to bring him a ‘Starbucks latte or a tea’.
Ms Slade said she refused because she was suffering from morning sickness at the time, but had a “feel” something was wrong.
“He is very particular about the coffee he likes and I have always had some at my house,” she told the court.
When Burke arrived he asked if she wanted a cup of tea, which Mrs. Slade refused, but he went into the kitchen and took a glass of water which she was already drinking with him.
A “pissed off” Burke again asked if she was going to drink the orange juice before taking it back to the kitchen and then leaving.
Burke told jurors he used the glass to crush the tablets and rinse them down the sink when it became clear Ms Slade didn’t want an abortion because they were ‘too big’ to be put in the trash.
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 first met Ms Slade at a nightclub in 2005 and their friendship ‘evolved’ into an affair after reconnecting with her on Facebook in 2015.
Burke would tell his wife he worked in the office while at Ms Slade’s flat and pretend to be at late-night parties when he slept, the court heard.
Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told jurors: “His motive was obvious. If Mrs. Slade had kept the baby, his double life would have crumbled around him. There is no way he hid the existence of this child from his wife and family.
Burke was taken into custody after the verdict and did not react when it was read. David Spens QC, defending Burke, said his client was aware he could face an immediate custodial sentence.
Judge Alastair Hammerton said the charge was punishable by “immediate imprisonment for a period”.
He added: “While it is certainly true that it would be administratively easier for the defendant to obtain a report while on bail, it appears that given the inevitability of the sentence, the only line of proper conduct or to return Mr. Burke to custody.”
The jury will continue to deliberate tomorrow (Wednesday, May 4) on a new charge of supplying poison to induce a miscarriage.
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