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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 East of England advises charges over three bodies found in Cambridgeshire


Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS East of England, Grace Ononiwu, said: "We have today advised Cambridgeshire police that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Joanna Dennehy over the deaths of three men whose bodies were found in ditches in Cambridgeshire.

"Miss Dennehy has this morning been charged with the murders of Kevin Lee, 48, and John Chapman, 56, on 29 March 2013; and the murder of Lukasz Slaboszewski, 31, on 19 March 2013.

"The body of Mr Lee was found in a ditch in Newborough, Cambridgeshire. The bodies of Mr Chapman and Mr Slaboszewski were found in a ditch in Thorney Dyke, Cambridgeshire.

"The decision in this case was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"Joanna Dennehy will appear at Peterborough Magistrates' Court on a date to be fixed. She now stands charged with very serious criminal offences and has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice the trial."


Notes to Editors

  1. Joanna Dennehy is also charged with the attempted murders of two men in Hereford, Worcestershire, on 2 April 2013.
  2. Also charged in connection with this case:
    - Leslie Layton has been charged with perverting the course of justice and is remanded in custody. He will next appear at Peterborough Crown Court on 20 June 2013.
    - Robert Moore has been charged with assisting an offender and is remanded in custody. He is due to appear next at Cambridge Crown Court on 1 July 2013.
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  4. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  5. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three specialised national divisions: Central Fraud Division, Special Crime and Counter Terrorism, and Organised Crime. In 2011-2012, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department of Health (DoH) prosecution functions were transferred to the CPS. A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales.
  6. In 2010-2011 the CPS employed around 7,745 people and prosecuted 957,881 cases with 116,898 of these in the Crown Court, and the remaining 840,983 in the magistrates' courts. Of those we prosecuted, 93,106 defendants were convicted in the Crown Court and 727,491 in the magistrates' courts. In total 86% of cases prosecuted resulted in a conviction. Further information can be found on the CPS website.
  7. 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. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.