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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

Gross negligence manslaughter charge over death of six-year-old trapped in electric gate


Alison Norton, Specialist Prosecutor handling Special Crime in the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "I have carefully considered all the available evidence in this tragic case, in which six-year-old Semelia Campbell died on 28 June 2010 after becoming caught in and crushed by an electric gate in the housing development where she lived.

"I have now concluded there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge Kristian Kearns, director of the company that automated the gate, with gross negligence manslaughter.

"This decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

"Kristian Kearns will appear at Manchester City Magistrates' Court on 12 March 2013.

"I once again extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Semelia Campbell."