Page last updated at 14:54 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 15:54 UK

Affair became bitter abortion battle

By Andy Dangerfield
BBC News, London

Dr Edward Erin
Dr Erin was seen crushing up white pills by his wife

The trial of a doctor who spiked his lover's drinks to try to induce a miscarriage revealed evidence of tangled love lives, twisted with jealousy and deception.

Consultant Dr Edward Erin, 44, of Kensington, west London, was found guilty of two charges of attempting to administer poison to make his lover miscarry, in what is believed to be only the second such prosecution in 40 years.

Bella Prowse, 33, from Brixton, south London, said she had become pregnant during an affair with Erin, her boss, and had refused to have an abortion.

The married father-of-two described Miss Prowse as flying into an "abject rage" when she talked about the possibility of having an abortion in a clinic.

Erin, a consultant in the chest and allergy clinic at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, began an affair with his secretary Miss Prowse after an office Christmas party in 2007.

'Really upset'

Miss Prowse, who gave birth to a healthy boy in September 2008, said she had found yellow powder in the bottom of her cup after Erin made her an Earl Grey tea in January last year.

The doctor was accused of making two further attempts to poison Miss Prowse in February 2008 - once in her coffee and then in orange juice - but he denied all the charges.

Bella Prowse
Bella Prowse gave birth to a healthy boy in September 2008

Police later found miscarriage-inducing drugs in the cup and in other beverages, the Old Bailey jury heard.

Erin was accused of using three different drugs in his attempts to procure a miscarriage.

He was convicted of trying to administer poison in a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice, but cleared of spiking the cup of tea.

In a similar case in 2008, kosher-bakery owner Gil Magira, 36, from Hendon, north London, was jailed for three years and nine months for secretly poisoning his wife's breakfast in November 2006 after she refused to have an abortion.

Miss Prowse told the jury that Erin had begged her to terminate the pregnancy and told her she had ruined his life.

She said he had told her that if she had the baby it would "kill him and he would have to leave work".

When Miss Prowse cancelled her appointment at the abortion clinic, she said Erin had become "really upset".

She told of how he "cried" and "begged" her and sent her texts, one of which said: "I am in a very dark place, love. I want to die but that would be too selfish."

Erin described his relationship with Miss Prowse as "very intense" and said it was "a big shock" when he found out she was pregnant.

Miss Prowse denied accusations by Erin's defence team that she had attempted to frame her lover by putting the pill into her orange juice herself in order to abort her baby.

'Unconventional marriage'

Erin painted an unflattering picture of his former lover, telling the Old Bailey she had become "scary" and flown into an "abject rage" when she had talked about having an abortion in a clinic, because she had been left traumatised by an abortion six years earlier.

The trial also probed her personal life, revealing she had been in a relationship with another man at the beginning of her affair with Erin but had ended it two weeks later.

Erin's defence case was supported by his wife. But he admitted taking poison from his workplace and his wife said she had seen him crush up poison at their home.

Details of Erin's relationship with his wife revealed an unconventional marriage.

Dr Lowri Erin said her husband had been "reluctant" to marry her in 2001 when he found out she was pregnant.

She said she had known of two of her husband's previous affairs, but did not know about Miss Prowse.

"I don't know what a conventional relationship is. We love each other," she told the court.

Erin and his wife, who met at the University of Wales, own a successful property lettings empire.

And despite his conviction, Erin is likely to remain a wealthy man.

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