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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

Man jailed for manslaughter after stalking his former partner

28/07/2017

A stalker whose campaign of threats and harassment caused his former partner to take her own life has today (28 July) been jailed for her manslaughter.

In a highly unusual case, Nicholas Allen, 47, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charge at Stafford Crown Court, accepting that his onslaught of threats and abuse led to Justene Reece's death.

The court heard how Justene set up home with Allen in Stafford in 2015, but within months the relationship changed and he became increasingly obsessive and controlling. The following year, she left him to seek refuge in a women's shelter at a secret location.

Allen then began tormenting his victim and her family, sending thousands of calls, texts and messages via Facebook and WhatsApp. He went to their homes, threatened Justene's son and posted offensive photographs of her mother's grave online. He also contacted employers, on one occasion falsely accusing a family member of serious sexual offences.

After six months of persistent abuse and numerous calls to the police, Justene took her own life. She left a note explaining that she could not endure her stalker's behaviour any longer.

Today at Stafford Crown Court, Allen was jailed for 10 years. The court heard he had a history of similar offences, including convictions for harassment, assault and threats to kill.

Hannah Sidaway, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This was an exceptional case. Allen subjected Justene and those close to her to a sustained campaign of torment until she was unable to endure his behaviour any longer. There is no doubt he ultimately caused her to take her own life.

"This case illustrates the devastating effect that stalking can have on victims. It reaches into every aspect of their lives, causing acute distress and leaving them, and often their families, living in fear.

"Prosecutors receive special training in handling these cases and in this instance we sought to charge Allen with an offence which reflected the dreadful impact of his behaviour."

Allen pleaded guilty to all the charges against him. Counts and sentencing were as follows:

  • Count 1: Controlling and Coercive Behaviour towards Justene Reece between 28th December 2015 and the 1st October 2016 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 2: Stalking Justene Reece between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 3: The unlawful act manslaughter of Justene Reece on 22nd February 2017 - 10 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 4: Stalking another person between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 5: Stalking a second person between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 6: Stalking a third person between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 7: Stalking a fourth person between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment
  • Count 8: Stalking a fifth person between 1st September 2016 and 14th March 2017 - 3 yrs imprisonment

Total = 10 years

In addition to the ten year sentence, Allen was given an extended licence of 15 years.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. Hannah Sidaway is a Senior Crown Prosecutor on the Complex Casework Unit for the Crown Prosecution Service West Midlands
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief - blog.cps.gov.uk
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233