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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

Father convicted of murdering adopted daughter


A father who caused fatal injuries to his 18-month-old adopted daughter has today (6 November) been convicted of her murder.

Matthew Scully-Hicks, 31, had denied killing Elsie Scully-Hicks in May 2016 but was found guilty by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court.

The trial heard how Scully-Hicks told the 999 call operator that he was changing Elsie's nappy and found her "limp and floppy" on the floor. She was rushed to hospital but died four days later as a result of her injuries.

A medical examination following her death revealed that Elsie had suffered injuries to her brain and eyes which experts considered to be consistent with being gripped and violently shaken.

The examination also revealed Elsie had suffered fractures to her ribs, thigh and the base of her skull.

Lisa McCarthy, from the CPS, said: "Elsie suffered serious injuries at the hands of her adoptive father and these ultimately caused her death. This was a tragic case and our thoughts and sympathies are with Elsie's loved ones.

"The evidence put forward by the CPS proved that Matthew Scully-Hicks was not only responsible for those injuries, but that he intended to seriously harm her.

"The prosecution built a case through careful and detailed analysis of witness accounts, medical evidence and the circumstances surrounding Elsie's death. This resulted in the guilty verdict returned by the jury."


Notes to Editors

  1. Lisa McCarthy is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Cymru-Wales
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233