Page last updated at 12:02 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Poison abortion bid doctor jailed

Edward Erin
Edward Erin had an affair with Bella Prowse in 2008

A doctor who attempted to poison his lover in a bid to induce a miscarriage has been jailed for six years.

Edward Erin, 44, of west London, spiked 33-year-old Bella Prowse's drinks after she became pregnant but refused to have a termination, the Old Bailey heard.

Miss Prowse, a secretary at the hospital where Erin worked, noticed her coffee and juice had been tampered with, and drug traces were later found.

Erin was found guilty of two charges of attempting to administer poison.

Sentencing the married father-of-two, who is originally from Caerphilly in south Wales, Judge Richard Hone called Erin "a liar, a cheat and a predator".

She is now steeling herself for the day when she has to tell her son the truth about the father
Det Ch Insp Michael Gallagher

He said the doctor, who worked at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, west London, led a fantasy life and had "betrayed his profession and his family".

Judge Hone said: "The three affairs which formed part of your evidence at trial illustrate how you exploited your senior position as a consultant respiratory physician to lure women into sexual relations.

"You intended an invasion of her (Miss Prowse) body, the thinking man's equivalent of an act of violence.

"The fact that no harm has yet resulted to the child is no thanks to you."

On Erin's wife he added: "If she continues to support you, as she says she will, you may think she deserves better than a husband who goes out on the prowl."

Dr Lowri Erin had defended her husband during the trial and said that she was aware of his affairs.

Judge Hone jailed Erin for six years on each count, to be served concurrently. Miss Prowse was present in court for the sentencing.

Bella Prowse
Bella Prowse thanked friends and family for their support

Reading out a statement from Miss Prowse Det Ch Insp Michael Gallagher said: "It's been a shock ordeal for her. She felt she was close to a nervous breakdown on several occasions and in extreme distress.

"She is now steeling herself for the day when she has to tell her son the truth about the father."

Clare Montgomery QC, defending, said that Erin's life had been threatened while he was being held in Belmarsh prison. She said he was a man who now felt "his life was over".

Miss Montgomery said: "His first night was spent with other prisoners screaming threats on his life."

The court heard Erin began an affair with Miss Prowse at an office Christmas party in December 2007.

A month later, she found she was pregnant.

Baby boy

The trial heard Erin put ground tablets into a cup of coffee he bought for Miss Prowse and a day after spiking her coffee he tried the same with a bottle of orange juice.

Miss Prowse became suspicious when she saw the cup of coffee had been opened and the next day saw the seal of the juice bottle was broken.

She took both drinks to the police. Tests showed traces of abortion-inducing drugs in both her body and a cup given to her by Erin.

Despite the poisoning attempt, Miss Prowse gave birth to a healthy baby, Ernie, in September 2008.

Erin was found not guilty on another charge of spiking a cup of tea as the jury could not reach a decision.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to seek a retrial on that charge.

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