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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

Decision to Charge

Once the Police have completed their investigations, they will refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on how to proceed. We will then make a decision on whether a suspect should be charged, and what that charge should be.

Find out more about private prosecutions

Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst found guilty in the case of missing schoolgirl Paige Chivers

10/07/2015

Paige Chivers was 15 when she went missing in Blackpool at around the time of the Bank Holiday weekend in August 2007. She was a vulnerable teenager whose mother had died only six months earlier.

Today, a jury at Preston Crown Court have found Robert Ewing guilty of her murder and have found Gareth Dewhurst guilty of assisting Ewing to dispose of her body. Her body has never been found. Both men have also been found guilty of perverting the course of justice.

Joanne Cunliffe, from CPS North West Complex Casework Unit said: "At the time of her disappearance Paige had very little stability in her life and Robert Ewing took advantage of this. He was a middle-aged man who befriended her, not for any charitable reasons, but because he had an inappropriate sexual interest in her. Although we will never know the exact circumstances, the jury in delivering their guilty verdict have found that soon after Paige went missing he killed her in his flat. Gareth Dewhurst knew about the murder and helped Robert Ewing dispose of her body.

"Neither of the defendants has ever shown any remorse and over the years since Paige went missing they have done everything they could to cover their tracks, to divert enquiries away from them and try to put the blame on other people. Robert Ewing in particular has attempted to lay false trails and obstruct the police investigations through a series of concocted explanations about the evidence.

"The CPS and the police have remained determined throughout to uncover the truth and to bring justice for Paige. We have worked closely from the outset of this investigation, painstakingly piecing together hundreds of items of evidence and hundreds of witness statements to build a strong case and enable the jury to see through the defendants' lies.

"Because Paige's body has never been found this has been a very complex case, firstly to prove that Paige was dead, not just missing, and then to prove that Robert Ewing murdered her.

"My sincere sympathies are with the family of Paige Chivers. Despite the outcome today the trial has been a difficult and painful time for them. I hope they can take some comfort in knowing that Robert Ewing and Gareth Dewhurst will now receive justice."

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. 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.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with 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.