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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

Christopher Halliwell found guilty of murder


Ian Harris, Head of the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service Wessex said: "After Christopher Halliwell had led Wiltshire Police to the body of Sian O'Callaghan, he also confessed to the murder of Rebecca Godden, who had been missing since January 2003.

"That was in 2011. Since then, our focus has been to get justice for Becky and her family as well. My team in the Complex Casework Unit in CPS Wessex has worked tirelessly with Wiltshire Police to build up a strong case against Christopher Halliwell and this meant that earlier this year we were able to re-start the prosecution for Becky's murder.

"In the course of his defence, Christopher Halliwell dismissed his legal team and then maintained that he had not been involved in Becky's murder. This meant we could ask the court to reverse the ruling which prevented the jury from being told about his confession. We succeeded and this meant that we could tell the jury not only that he was serving a life sentence for Sian's murder but also that he had confessed to Becky's murder and knew where she had been buried.

"Even then, despite all the evidence, including his own confession, Mr Halliwell continued to fight the case. In the process, he has put Becky's family through untold suffering on top of the terrible pain he has caused them by murdering Becky.

"In the end, despite his every effort to evade justice, he has been convicted and I hope that this will finally give some comfort and closure to Becky's family. Our thoughts have been very much with them, and also with Sian's family, throughout this dreadful ordeal."


Notes to Editors

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