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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

Matthew Hamlen found guilty of murder after acquittal four years ago


Matthew Hamlen, 37, from Eastleigh was convicted on 23 February 2016 at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of Georgina Edmonds, who was found dead at her home in Brambridge, in January 2008. Although he was acquitted of her murder at the end of a trial in 2012, Matthew Hamlen was re-tried under the retrial of serious offences (double jeopardy) legislation, after new and compelling DNA evidence was found.

Following the conviction, Ian Harris, Head of the  Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex' Complex Casework Unit said: "Georgina Edmonds, an elderly lady, was brutally and callously murdered in her own home. It has taken two trials and eight long years for her family to obtain justice. We would like to thank and pay tribute to her family, her friends and to all those who assisted the police, gave evidence and supported the prosecution.

"Two years ago, as a result of their detailed and painstaking forensic examination, Hampshire  Police were able to present us with powerful fresh evidence.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, gave her consent for the re-arrest of Matthew Hamlen and the Court of Appeal granted our application to charge him again with the murder of Georgina Edmonds.

"The new and fresh evidence was that a DNA profile matching Matthew Hamlen was found on the left hand sleeve on the back of Mrs Edmonds' blouse. The forensic expert said that the probability of obtaining the matching results was 26 million times more likely if the DNA was from Matthew Hamlen, rather than from someone unrelated to him.

"Matthew Hamlen always denied that he was responsible for the killing and said that he could not remember what his whereabouts were at the time of her murder.

"During a six-week trial at Winchester Crown Court the jury heard evidence from different experts, from Mrs Edmonds' son, Harry, daughter Georgina and from friends of the family.

"After hearing both the prosecution and the defence case, the jury was satisfied that Matthew Hamlen had murdered Mrs Edmonds and found him guilty.

"This case demonstrates the determination of both the Crown Prosecution Service in Wessex and Hampshire Police to work together in order to bring offenders before the courts and to obtain justice for the victims of crime."


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.