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Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

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 statement on Carl Whant conviction: "Important to mark death of unborn child with separate charge"

22/02/2012

David Wooler, Crown Advocate for the Crown Prosecution Service in Wales, said: "When we reviewed the initial evidence against Carl Whant gathered by Heddlu Gwent Police back in February last year, the truly horrific nature of the crimes committed was all too apparent.

 "At that stage it was clearly appropriate to authorise a murder charge in relation to Nikitta Grender's death. However, the offence of murder cannot be committed against unborn children and we felt it was extremely important that Kelsey-May's death was marked by a separate charge in its own right.

"Carl Whant was therefore also charged with the offence of child destruction, under the Infant Life Preservation Act 1929. This piece of legislation - thankfully very rarely used - can help protect the rights of an unborn child that is capable of being born alive. Kelsey-May undoubtedly fit that description.

"This is an offence which prohibits wilful acts causing the death of any child capable of being born alive - and given the advanced stage of Nikitta Grender's pregnancy, Kelsey-May certainly fit that description.

"Child destruction is, thankfully, a very rarely used charge; we are not aware of another case like this one in Wales. When the legislation was originally drafted in the 1920s, it was intended to be used to curb the activities of back-street abortionists. But in a more modern setting, it can be applied to cases where an offender deliberately takes the life of an unborn child through a violent or aggressive act.

"As the police inquiry continued over the weeks and months following the original incident, more evidence became available to us, ultimately leading to the addition of rape and arson charges against Carl Whant.

"I think many of us involved in highly emotive cases such as this one experience a strange mixture of emotions at its conclusion. Whilst we may feel that a conviction provides vindication for the immense amount of hard work that goes into a major criminal investigation and prosecution, we are acutely aware that today's verdict does not bring back Nikitta or Kelsey-May.

"Equally, whilst we may move on to our next case, the family and friends of the victims are left to grieve their loss for many years to come. All we can do is hope that today's conviction at least allows them to take one small step forward in rebuilding their lives.

"A large number of people have supported this trial as witnesses and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their strength and resilience."

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