Advanced Search

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

Construction manager jailed for manslaughter after site death

30/06/2017

A construction manager has today, 30 June, been jailed for gross negligence manslaughter, after a workman was crushed to death on a building site.

Andrew Winterton, 52, was in charge of the site, being developed by his company Conquest Homes at Collyweston, Northamptonshire.

In September 2014, the walls of a deep trench at the site collapsed, crushing Shane Wilkinson, 33, who was standing near the edge.

Today Winterton was sentenced to four years in prison. Conquest Homes was convicted of health and safety offences and has been sentenced to a fine of £55,000.

A second man, Dean Wortley, 47, who was responsible for excavating the unsafe trench, was sentenced to 12 months in prison, also for health and safety offences.

During the trial, Northampton Crown Court was told that Winterton had overall responsibility for health and safety at the site. Wortley dug the drainage trench, without proper preparation or adequate safety measures.

Mr Wilkinson had told friends of at least two previous collapses in the same trench and yet nothing was done to protect those working nearby.

Fiona Morrison, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Throughout their trial, Wortley and Winterton tried to pass the blame for this incident on to others, but the evidence put forward by the prosecution showed the jury the fault was theirs.

"Winterton supervised a building site which was badly run, with poorly-trained workers and he had scant regard for health and safety. Wortley excavated a trench without any professional safety measures. It should have been obvious to both of them that it was highly dangerous.

"The construction industry should be in no doubt that health and safety failures of this magnitude are extremely serious criminal offences, for which managers can be held personally liable."

The men and company were sentenced as follows:

Dean Wortley

  • Failure as a self-employed person to ensure the safety of other workers not employed by him - 12 months in prison
  • Failing to take all practicable steps to prevent danger. 12 months in prison
    (Sentences to run concurrently)

Andrew Winterton

  • Manslaughter through gross negligence. - 4 years in prison
  • Causing a corporate body to commit an offence (2 counts) - 2 x 8 months in prison
  • Failure to take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and others 12 months in prison
    (Sentences to run concurrently + £20,000 costs)

Conquest Homes

  • Failure of an employer to discharge its duty to ensure the health and safety of its employees.
  • Failure of an employer to discharge its duty to ensure the health and safety of other workers on the site.
  • Failing to take all practicable steps to prevent danger.
    (Fined £55,000 + £30,000 costs)

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Fiona Morrison is a Specialist Prosecutor in the CPS Special Crime Division
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233