Man Who Laced Drink with Abortion Drug Faces Jail

Found guilty of attempting to cause Chiswick woman to miscarry

Darren Burke. Picture: Facebook

A 43-year-old civil servant has been remanded in custody and faces a jail sentence after he was found guilty of spiking a Chiswick woman’s drink in an attempt to make her miscarry his child.

Darren Burke, a married father of one who works at the Home Office, had been in a relationship for five years with Laura Slade when she became pregnant at the end of 2020. He demanded that she terminate the pregnancy but she refused.

In an attempt to stop his wife and child finding out about the relationship, he crushed a mifepristone pill, a drug that is used to induced abortions, and put it in a glass of orange juice that he gave to her when he was with her in her two bedroom flat in Chiswick on 4 December 2020.

Ms Slade later discovered powder residue inside the rim of the glass and confronted Burke on the phone, asking him, “What did you put in that glass?” Burke denied putting anything in the glass and asked her if she trusted him.

Later forensic examination by the police found that the glass had in fact contained mifepristone.

This failed to cause a miscarriage but, a few weeks later, Ms Slade lost her baby on Christmas Day. The prosecution did not attempt to link this to the lacing of her drink by Burke.

Burke claimed that he had thrown the tablets in the bin before worrying that the victim’s children or dog might get to them. He then told officers that he crushed the tablets using a glass and washed them down the sink.

On 3 May at Isleworth Crown Court Burke was convicted of attempting to administer poison with intent to cause a miscarriage. A count of procuring poison to be used with intent to procure a miscarriage was left to lie on life.

Karen Sturman, from the CPS, said, “Darren Burke was living a double life and was desperate to abort his unborn child so that his wife and family did not find out about his secret relationship. His actions were premeditated and selfish.

“After unsuccessfully badgering the pregnant victim to agree to a termination, he cunningly and cruelly attempted to trick her into suffering a miscarriage by spiking a drink he had prepared for her. On the morning of the attempted poisoning, he even rather unusually offered to bring the victim a drink from Starbucks – an offer which she luckily declined.

“The prosecution case included forensic evidence and strong witness testimony from the brave victim who came to court and gave evidence against her former partner of five years.

“I hope this conviction goes some way in providing closure to the victim and gives other such victims the courage to come forward and report such crimes.”

After remanding Burke in custody the judge warned him that he faced a jail sentence of ‘of some length’. He will be sentenced at the same court on 16 June.

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May 9, 2022