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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Prosecuting Homicide

Murder and manslaughter are two of the offences that constitute homicide.

Manslaughter can be committed in one of three ways:

  1. killing with the intent for murder but where there is provocation, diminished responsibility or a suicide pact.
  2. conduct that was grossly negligent given the risk of death, and resulted in death.
  3. conduct, taking the form of an unlawful act involving a danger of some harm, that caused death.

With some exceptions, the crime of murder is committed, where a person:

  • of sound mind and discretion (i.e. sane):
  • unlawfully kills (i.e. not self-defence or other justified killing)
  • any reasonable creature (human being)
  • in being (born alive and breathing through its own lungs)
  • under the Queen's Peace
  • with intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm.

There are other specific homicide offences, for example, infanticide, causing death by dangerous driving, and corporate manslaughter.

Find out more about prosecuting homicide

CPS advises charges over Lynette White trials


The Crown Prosecution Service's Special Crime Division (SCD) has advised South Wales Police that there is sufficient evidence to prosecute 15 people involved in the trials of five men for the 1988 murder of Lynette White.

Police Constable John Howard Murray, Detective Sergeant Paul Stephen, Detective Constable Paul Jennings, Wayne Pugh, Graham Mouncher, Richard Powell, Thomas Page, Michael Daniels, John Brian Gillard, Peter Greenwood, John Seaford, Rachel O’Brien and Stephen Hicks are summonsed with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice contrary to Section 1(1) and Section 1(3) of the Criminal Law Act 1977. The first three are currently serving officers with South Wales Police and Wayne Pugh is a South Wales Police staff member. All others named are retired police officers.

Violet Elizabeth Perriam and Ian Albert Massey are civilians summonsed with two counts of perjury, contrary to Section 1(1) of the Perjury Act 1911 in relation to the evidence they gave at the murder trials.

The offences - to be charged by way of summons - deal with the original investigation of Lynette’s murder and the trials in 1989 and 1990 of John Actie, Ronald Actie, Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Anthony Paris for that murder. The first trial did not conclude due to the untimely death of the judge. After a second trial in 1990, Miller, Abdullahi and Paris were convicted of Lynette White’s murder but their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1992.

Jeffrey Gafoor pleaded guilty at Cardiff Crown Court in July 2003 to the murder of Lynette White. He admitted committing the murder alone.

The conduct of the first case was re-investigated by South Wales Police supervised by the the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and a file was submitted to SCD in 2005.

In October 2008 SCD secured perjury convictions against Mark Grommek, Angela Psaila and Leanne Vilday, civilian witnesses at the 1990 trial. Paul Atkins, another civilian witness, was unfit to stand trial.

Following these convictions SCD lawyers then reviewed the evidence against police officers suspected of moulding, manipulating and fabricating the evidence against John Actie, Ronald Actie, Stephen Miller, Yusef Abdullahi and Anthony Paris.


  1. Media enquiries and interview requests to CPS Press Office 020 7710 6088, Out of hours pager: 07699 781926.
  2. South Wales Police Press Office: 01656 869291
  3. IPCC: regional communications officer 02920 245464 or 07717 851 223.
  4. The maximum sentence for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice is life imprisonment; the maximum for perjury is seven years.
  5. The Crown Prosecution Service is the independent authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:
    • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
    • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
    • Preparing cases for court
    • Presenting cases at court
  6. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition there are four specialised national divisions: Organised Crime, Special Crime, Counter-Terrorism and the Fraud Prosecution Service. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 85.1% in 2007-2008. Further information can be found on our website.

    More about the CPS

  7. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.

    Publicity and the Criminal Justice System protocol