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Man convicted of spiking pregnant girlfriend’s drink to cause miscarriage

|News

A man has been convicted of spiking his pregnant girlfriend’s drink in order to cause a miscarriage. 

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

He encouraged the victim to drink the laced juice when he visited her flat in Chiswick on 4 December 2020. Alarmed by his persistence, she did not, and eventually he poured the liquid away 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 unbeknown in the glass and 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. 

On 3 May 2022 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. 

Burke was arrested on 19 February 2021. During police interview he 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. 

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.” 

Notes to editors

  • Darren Burke (DOB: 26/3/1979) is from Windsor. 
  • The victim miscarried on Christmas Day 2020, but this was unrelated to the incident.
  • Karen Sturman is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Crown Court team in CPS London North. 

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