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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

Sexual Offences

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 updated the law, much of which dated back to 1956.

The main provisions of the Act include the following:

  • Rape is widened to include oral penetration
  • Significant changes to the issue of consent
  • Specific offences relating to children under 13, 16 and 18
  • Offences to protect vulnerable persons with a mental disorder
  • Other miscellaneous offences
  • Strengthening the notification requirements and providing new civil preventative orders

Find out more about how we prosecute sexual offences

Kayleigh Haywood's killer brought to justice


Two men have been convicted of a range of offences that culminated in the rape and murder of Leicestershire teenager Kayleigh Haywood.

Janine Smith, Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands said: "The death of Kayleigh Haywood was devastating. She suffered a terrifying ordeal at the hands of Stephen Beadman. She was only in that position because she had been groomed by Luke Harlow before being kept against her will.

"Beadman callously raped and took the life of an innocent teenage girl. Harlow pursued a succession of under-age girls in a sinister manner, talking about 'kidnapping' them and making them 'slaves'.

"I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy to Kayleigh's family and I hope the conviction of these highly dangerous men will in some way help them start to cope with their loss."

Additional information

Kayleigh's body was found in a field just outside Ibstock in Leicestershire on 18 November 2015. She had been reported missing the previous weekend. Stephen Beadman, a landscape gardener from Ibstock, pleaded guilty to raping and murdering her. His neighbour, Luke Harlow, pleaded guilty to grooming Kayleigh and sexual activity with a child. Both were found guilty by a jury at Nottingham Crown Court of false imprisonment, for detaining Kayleigh against her will in Harlow's flat.

In the days leading up to the tragic events of that weekend, Harlow had made contact with Kayleigh over social media. He had flattered her, befriended her and enticed her to meet him. The Friday before she died, Kayleigh told her family that she was staying with a friend but was in fact meeting with Harlow.

Although Kayleigh went to visit Harlow of her own accord, at some point during the weekend, circumstances changed and she tried to escape. She was followed by Beadman, who raped her and killed her. He abandoned her body in nearby undergrowth, before returning to Harlow's flat to collect his keys and Kayleigh's belongings, which he abandoned in a skip along with his own bloodstained clothing.

Neither came forward when the police were searching for Kayleigh, but were traced through Kayleigh's social media activity. Both admitted what they had done, but denied holding Kayleigh against her will.

Further investigations into Harlow's online activity revealed attempts to groom other teenage girls before Kayleigh and he pleaded guilty to attempted grooming offences for two other girls.

Although Stephen Beadman pleaded guilty to raping and murdering Kayleigh and Luke Harlow pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a child, their pleas did not cover the full extent of their criminal actions, so both were tried for false imprisonment.


Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk and visit our official News Brief -
  3. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  4. At 31 March 2015 we employed a workforce of approximately 5,895 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2,255 prosecutors and 3,288 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:
  5. The CPS, together with police representatives (formerly 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.