A UK Home Office worker who tried to induce his lover’s miscarriage has been sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.
Married father-of-one Darren Burke (43) was found guilty last month of giving Laura Slade the abortion drug mifepristone.
The court heard how Ms Slade had refused to drink the orange juice – claiming she discovered the remnants of powder around the edge of the glass – on December 4, 2020, but suffered an unconnected miscarriage weeks later.
Reading the victim impact statement in court, prosecutor Paul Jarvis described how Ms Slade now had trust issues.
“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 people she’s never mistrusted before.
“She totally trusted Mr Burke and she feels she [won’t] ever get over what he did to her.”
He added that since the offence Ms Slade had had multiple PTSD therapy sessions.
Burke, a deputy director for the emergency services mobile communications programme, had encouraged the mother-of-two to terminate the pregnancy and sent her links to an abortion clinic and abortion pill after she fell pregnant during the course of their five-year affair.
He claimed that he had crushed the abortion tablets and flushed them down the sink when it became clear his lover was determined to keep the baby.
Ms Slade sent Burke a message on WhatsApp to inform him she was pregnant after learning she was expecting in November 2020.
Judge Alastair Hammerton, passing down sentence, told Burke: “I am also satisfied that when you acquired the drug you intended to administer it to Ms Slade.
“She trusted you totally and as a result she now finds it hard to trust people. Your breach of the trust Ms Slade placed in you has adversely affected Ms Slade’s ability to trust others.”
By November 15, Ms Slade had decided to have the baby but was told by Burke that it would destroy his family life if she did so, jurors heard.
The pair arranged to meet at Ms Slade’s home on December 4 – Burke went to the kitchen and returned with two glasses of orange juice.
“He had a cup of tea himself and they talked about whether his name would appear on the birth certificate and how much money he would contribute,” said the prosecutor. “However, Mr Burke’s main interest was making sure that Ms Slade drank that orange mixture.”