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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

Crimes involving young people

Young people as victims and witnesses

Being a victim or a witness to a crime is not easy, but we work hard to bring offenders to justice. Throughout the justice process we will support young victims and witnesses and treat them with dignity.

Find out more about how we support young victims and witnesses

Youth crime

The Crown Prosecution Service acts in partnership with other agencies such as the police, the youth justice board, children's services, courts and youth offending teams. Each area of the CPS has a youth justice specialist who oversees the prosecution of youth crime in their area.

Find out more about how we prosecute youth crime

Three convicted over protracted death of toddler


Following a nine week trial three people have been convicted at the Central Criminal Court over the death of a seventeen month old child in London.

Over the final eight months of his life, the child was subjected to a course of abuse of increasing violence which culminated in a broken spine and then finally, his death.

A 32 year old man was found guilty of causing or allowing the death and his partner, who was the child's mother, pleaded guilty to allowing the death to happen. Jason Owen, 36, was also found guilty of causing or allowing the death of the child.

Judith Reed, Head of Homicide for CPS London, said:

"This was a sickening crime against a vulnerable child, perpetrated by the very people who should have protected him. Instead, his carers subjected him to months of agony of a truly torturous nature which ended in his death.

"While nothing will bring this toddler back, the prosecution of these individuals and today's verdict have ensured that the abusers have faced justice.

"The Crown Prosecution Service offers its heartfelt condolences to this little boy's family for their tragic loss."

At the time of death, the toddler had a large number of injuries, including eight fractured ribs, a missing tooth which he was found to have swallowed, missing parts to two of his fingernails and tips of fingers, a missing toenail, ulcerated lesions on his scalp and both his ears, a tear between the upper lip and gum, extensive bruising and a broken spine which would have caused paralysis.

The Crown's case was that the defendants not only subjected him to protracted violence, but that they also made a concerted effort to evade the reaches of the people who might be able to save him. Tactics included covering bruises with chocolate and lying to avoid visits from social workers.

The mother's partner moved into the household in November 2006 and the first instance of bruising to the child was detected just weeks later.

The prosecution case used evidence from 106 witnesses which included medical experts, social workers, police representatives and friends and relatives of the defendants.


  1. For national media inquiries contact the CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8180
  2. Reporting restrictions may apply. Please refer to the Central Criminal Court for more details.
  3. 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

    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 85.1% in 2007-2008.

    More about the CPS

    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