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Threats to kill

Date Produced: 8 March 2013

Title: Offences against the person

Offence: Threats to kill

Legislation: Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 16

Mode of Trial: Either Way

Statutory Limitations & Maximum Penalty: 10 years imprisonment

Sentencing Range: Serious specified violent offence

Aggravating & Mitigating Factors

  • Any use of violence or imminent threat
  • Written or oral threat
  • Premeditated or spontaneous
  • Whether series of offences
  • More than one offender or victim

Relevant Sentencing Guidelines

The SGC definitive guideline 'Assault and Other Offences Against the Person' does not cover this offence

Relevant Sentencing Case Law

R v Tucknott [2001] 1 Cr.App.R.(S.) 93.
The Court of Appeal noted that it seemed not to have approved sentences in excess of 5 years on a plea of guilty, whilst recognising that a higher sentence could be justified in a special case.

R v Fletcher [2002] Crim. L. R. 591
Consecutive sentences were imposed for indecent assault and threats to kill arising out of the same incident. The imposition of consecutive sentences was upheld by the Court of Appeal on the basis that the gravamen of the former was indecency whereas the gravamen of the latter offence was the extreme terror which such threats engendered.

R. v Smith [2004] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 92
Appellant pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, threats to kill, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm involving his mother.  Previous decisions of the Court of Appeal considered.  Sentence reduced to five years imprisonment.

R. v Pringle [2004] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 36
Appellant, who was serving a 15 year sentence, pleaded guilty.  He shouted a prison officer's name and threatened to shoot him, his wife and children after his release. The victim believed that he intended to carry out the threat. Sentence reduced to three years imprisonment consecutive.

R v Fuller [2011] 2 Cr.App.R.(S.) 59
Appellant and victim were former friends who had fallen out years previously.  Victim threatened by associate of appellant, victim went to his car, appellant arrived and said that he would come to the victim's house and shoot him or pay someone else to do so.  Appellant referred to a local shooting some years before, saying that he had paid for it to be done.  Appellant's hand in pocket suggesting to victim that he might have a gun.  Victim feared for his life and for that of his family.  Appellant then drove away.  Previous convictions.  Guilty plea 13 days after the PCMH.  Sentence reduced to 2 years imprisonment.

Recent Decisions reported in CSP at B2-1.3D

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