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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

CPS statement: Murder of Paul Erhahon

09/04/2008

Today three young men were convicted of the murder, and two of manslaughter, of Paul Erhahon, on Good Friday last year in Leytonstone, east London. A further young man was convicted of the attempted murder of his friend, Stephen Mafolabomi, on Good Friday last year.

CPS London lawyer Paul Goddard said: "No one should be left in any doubt: knives end lives, and ruin the lives of those who use them. Stephen survived, but although Paul was attacked with baseball bats and a chain, a stab wound to the chest killed him. Had Paul not been stabbed, he would have lived.

"Nor should the bravery of the young witnesses whose evidence helped to convict these defendants be under-estimated. The Crown Prosecution Service worked tirelessly with the police to protect the anonymity of these witnesses. We will do so again whenever necessary to ensure that the guilty are convicted, and that gangs do not win."

  1. Media enquiries to CPS Press Office on 020 7710 6088.
  2. The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department 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;
    • Presentation of cases at court;

    The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). 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 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on this website.