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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

Couple found guilty of murdering four-year-old Daniel Pelka


A mother and her partner have today been found guilty of the murder of her four-year-old son, Daniel Pelka, who died on 3 March 2012 in Coventry.

Magdelena Luczak, aged 27, and Mariusz Krezolek, 33, were convicted after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Lisa Windridge, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit, said: "This has been an extremely harrowing case in which a young and defenceless child was starved and beaten to death by those who were supposed to have protected and cared for him.

"Daniel Pelka was a healthy four-year-old boy when he started at his school in September 2011, but by the time he died seven months later, he was a gaunt, frightened little boy who had gone through immense suffering which was inflicted on him by his own mother and her partner.

"Not only did Magdelena Luczak fail to protect Daniel from Mariusz Krezolek, but she also played an active role in her son's death. She knew exactly what Krezolek was doing to her son, but rather than seek help from her family or the authorities, she joined in with the abuse.

"Daniel would be locked in a box room with no bed and no toys, a room which he would also have to use as his toilet. Food was denied to him which resulted in him stealing food from other children in his class or scavenging food from the school dustbins. The abuse culminated when he suffered a blow to his head which ultimately led to his death, however, rather than seek medical assistance immediately, his mother and her partner waited 24 hours before they called the emergency services.

"Today, justice has finally been achieved for Daniel and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all of the witnesses who have given their evidence in this tragic case." 


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The DPP has set out what the public can expect from the CPS in the Core Quality Standards document published in March 2010.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.