A married Home Office boss who injected his pregnant mistress’s orange juice in a bid to cause a miscarriage has been jailed for more than three-and-a-half years in London.

Darren Burke, 43, wanted Laura Slade to have an abortion to keep his double life secret from his wife but she refused, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

He crushed tablets of mifepristone into Ms Slade’s glass and asked her to drink it, saying she needs to keep her vitamins up. She declined and Burke poured the juice down the sink as he left on December 4, 2020.

But Ms Slade called the police when she noticed a powdery residue and white granules in the empty glass. Forensic tests revealed the presence of the prescription drug.

Darren Burke, 43, wanted Laura Slade to have an abortion to keep his double life secret from his wife but she refused, Isleworth Crown Court heard.

He crushed tablets of mifepristone into Ms Slade’s glass and asked her to drink it, saying she needs to keep her vitamins up. She declined and Burke poured the juice down the sink as he left on December 4, 2020.

But Ms Slade called the police when she noticed a powdery residue and white granules in the empty glass. Forensic tests revealed the presence of the prescription drug.

Reading the victim impact statement in court, prosecutor Paul Jarvis described how Ms Slade now has trust issues.

He said: ‘She talks for example about how it makes her feel sick to think about what could have happened if she had drunk the orange juice.

‘Her experience has totally changed her approach to people. She finds it hard to trust people, even with people she’s never mistrusted before.

‘She totally trusted Mr Burke and she feels she doesn’t think she’ll ever get over what he did to her.’

Wearing a dark blue suit in the dock Burke showed no emotion as he heard his sentence.

He also received a restraining order preventing him from contacting directly or indirectly Ms Slade or going to her address.

The court heard he had known Ms Slade for about 15 years, but they did not start an affair until 2015.

When she discovered she was pregnant in November 2020, Ms Slade messaged Burke on WhatsApp to tell him the news.

‘There was some discussion about the possibility of Ms Slade having a termination and it is clear from messages that Mr Burke did not want her to have the baby,’ Mr Jarvis said.

He begged Ms Slade to have an abortion and texted her saying: ‘Babes I understand it’s your body but we can’t keep it.’

Ms Slade wrote back: ‘No you mean you can’t.’

Burke went on: ‘No babes please please listen to me. It will be everyone, your kids, my kids, my wife, your family. This is bigger than you and I. I’m asking you please.’

He also sent her a link to an abortion clinic and asked: ‘Shall we book this?’

Mr Jarvis said: ‘His motive was obvious.

‘If Ms Slade had kept the baby then his double life would have come crashing down around him because there was no way he could have kept that child a secret from his wife.’

Defending, David Spens QC told the court that at the time, Burke’s wife had ‘fortunately forgiven him his affair and the offence’ but it was ‘doubtful that he would be able to find employment again’.

He also told the court he was struggling with the stress of starting a new job after being made redundant as a result of the pandemic and how his father had become paralysed.

Metro UK

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