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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

Prosecuting Special Crime

Deaths in custody, allegations against the police, corporate manslaughter, medical manslaughter, serious public corruption, election offences, appeals to the House of Lords and extradition are just some of the types of cases dealt with by specialist Crown Prosecutors in the Special Crime Division.

Find out more about extradition

Find out more about how we prosecute bribery and corruption

Find out how we prosecute election offences

Find out more about how we deal with allegations against the police

Find out about our prosecution policy for deaths in custody

Find out about unduly lenient sentences

Company director to face manslaughter charge for death of Meg Burgess


The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided that George Collier should be charged with gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the death of Meg Burgess on 26 July 2008 in Prestatyn, Wales.

Meg Burgess, aged three, was killed when a wall designed by Mr Collier and constructed by his company, Parcol Developments Limited, collapsed on to a public footpath in Ffordd Penrhwyfla.

Rosemary Ainslie, reviewing lawyer for the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "I have carefully reviewed all of the evidence gathered by North Wales Police and the Health and Safety Executive during their thorough investigation into the tragic death of Meg Burgess in July 2008.

"After considering reports from experts on construction standards and advice from counsel, I have decided that George Collier should be charged with gross negligence manslaughter for his role in designing and constructing the wall that collapsed. Mr Collier has been summonsed to appear at Prestatyn Magistrates' Court on 3 October 2011.

"I have also decided that Parcol Developments Limited, of which Mr Collier was a director, should be charged with an offence under Section 3 of the Health and Safety Act at Work 1974. Section 3 requires all employers to conduct their business in a way that ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that others are not exposed to risk.

"I did consider whether Parcol Developments should also be charged with corporate manslaughter. There is sufficient evidence to prosecute the company for this offence, but it would not be in the public interest to do so. The company had only two directors and Mr Collier was the only one directly involved in this incident. The charge against him is sufficiently serious to address the alleged offending."

Senior Investigating Officer Mark Abbott of North Wales Police said: "The family have been kept fully updated throughout the investigation and they have been informed of this decision.

"This remains a difficult time for the family and they request that their privacy is respected."


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Group, Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism, and Organised Crime. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  4. The CPS employs around 8,316 people and prosecuted 982,731 cases with a conviction rate of 86.8% in the magistrates' courts and 80.7% in the Crown Court in 2009-20010. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  5. 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.