Darren Burke convicted of lacing secret lover’s orange juice to induce abortion

·3-min read
Darren Burke (Met Police)
Darren Burke (Met Police)

A Home Office boss has been convicted of spiking his pregnant lover’s orange juice with an abortion pill in order to cause a miscarriage and keep the secret pregnancy from his wife.

Married father-of-one Darren Burke, 43, laced his mistresses’ orange juice with mifepristone, a drug commonly used to induce abortions.

Burke, deputy director of the Home Office’s emergency services mobile communication programme, attempted to trick the victim into drinking the laced juice when he visited her flat in Chiswick on 4 December, 2020.

Put off by his “badgering” she did not and watched him as he poured the drink down the sink and left the flat.

The victim 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 simply asked the victim if she trusted him.

Police officers were called to the flat the next day after the victim reported being offered a suspicious drink by her partner whom she had known for 15 years and been in a relationship with for five years.

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

Mifepristone works by blocking the hormone progesterone, which is needed for a pregnancy to advance.

During police interview Burke said that on the day in question it became clear that the victim did not want to abort the baby, so he threw 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. He was charged the following month.

On May 3, at Isleworth Crown Court, Burke, from Windsor, Berkshire, 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.

The judge remanded the senior civil servant in custody ahead of sentencing on June 16 after saying he faces a "sentence of immediate imprisonment of some length".

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.”

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