Home Office official found guilty of spiking pregnant lover’s drink with abortion pills

Deputy director Darren Burke joined the civil service in August 2020
Home Office. Photo: Russell Hart/Alamy

By Tevye Markson

04 May 2022

A senior civil servant in the Home Office spiked his pregnant mistress's drink to try to cause a miscarriage, a court has ruled.

Darren Burke, 43, a deputy director at the department, was found guilty by jurors at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday of attempting to administer abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy.

Burke, who joined the civil service in August 2020, is working on the Home Office’s Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme, which is building a new comms system for emergency services including the fire and ambulance services.

The jury is still deliberating on a second accusation, that he obtained the drug – mifepristone – with intent.

A married father-of-one, Burke crushed tablets of the abortion drug, which doctors prescribe, into a glass of orange juice for his mistress Laura Slade on 4 December 2020.

Slade refused to drink the juice, saying she discovered remnants of powder around the edge of the glass, but suffered an unconnected miscarriage three weeks later, the court heard.

The court had previously heard that Burke had encouraged the mother-of-two to terminate the pregnancy after she fell pregnant during their five-year affair.

Burke, who is from Windsor, claimed he flushed the tablets down the sink when he realised his mistress was determined to keep the baby, denying obtaining the mifepristone with intent and attempting to use it to induce a miscarriage.

The Home Office said it would not comment until verdicts have been returned on all charges and the trial is fully concluded.

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