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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

Seven men guilty of the murder of M40 biker


Gerry Tobin was killed on the M40 in a cold blooded, military style operation only because he was a Hell's Angel's member, said David Robinson, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Warwickshire.

Simon Turner and five others were found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court of the murder of Gerry Tobin. One man, Sean Creighton pleaded guilty before the start of the trial.

Mr Robinson said: "Simon Turner and his co-defendants, all members of a gang called The Outlaws, carefully planned the murder of Gerald Tobin not for any personal reason but simply because he was a member of a rival gang, the Hell's Angels.

"This was not a random killing but the result of a cold-blooded, premeditated, almost military plan which was put into place with great precision.

"Although two men fired shots at Gerry Tobin, the prosecution case was that the seven defendants carried out his murder in a joint enterprise and each of them played an important part before, during and following his death.

"Gerry Tobin was a thoroughly peaceful, well liked and hard working man who had a passion for motorbikes. He was a complete stranger to every one of the defendants. This was an horrendous murder committed by people with no regard for human life. It was a carefully and ruthlessly planned ambush.

"The mere fact that he was part of this rival group and on his way back to the Bulldog Bash, a weekend festival for Hell's Angels, was seen by the Outlaws as a valid reason for them to end his life."

The court was told that Mr Tobin was killed by a single shot as he was riding his bike on the M40, close to the Warwick Service Area. The shot was fired from a car which pulled up alongside him on the motorway.

A second shot, aimed at his bike, was fired from the same car; probably to bring Mr Tobin down and kill him in a crash if the first shot failed to hit him.

Mr Robinson said: "We are grateful to those people who came forward to give evidence. We were then able to provide them with support in court by way of special measures to screen them from the accused and the public gallery and, in some cases, through the making of witness anonymity orders.

"Our thoughts now are with Mr Tobin's family."



  1. For further information contact Julie Seddon, CPS Press Office, 020 7796 8180.
  2. The seven men charged with the murder of Gerard (Gerry) Tobin on 12 August 2007 were: Sean Adrian Creighton, Simon John Turner, Dane Garside, Malcolm Bull, Karl Frederick Garside, Dean Anthony Taylor, Ian Mervyn Cameron.
  3. Creighton, Turner and Dane Garside were also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. All 7 defendants were also charged with possessing a shotgun without a certificate.
  4. 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
  5. 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. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  6. 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. The Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media is published on the CPS website.