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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

Soldier jailed for 16 years for attempted murder


A soldier has today (9 February) been jailed for 16 years for the kidnap and attempted murder of a fellow serviceman in Windsor.

John Watson, 35, from Surrey, attacked his then 28-year-old victim in May last year, and is believed to have been motivated by jealousy at the man's relationship with his estranged wife.

The victim was targeted by Watson as he left the woman's home. Using a knife, Watson forced him into his car where he tied him to a head rest with cable ties, bound his feet and wrapped cling film around his face.

Eventually the victim freed himself but Watson continued to attack him with a knife and was on top of the man when police arrived.

Stab wounds and a bite injury to his head were among the injuries suffered by the victim, who required surgery on defensive hand wounds.

Investigators from Thames Valley Police found that Watson had carried out considerable planning before the incident, including internet searches and compiling notes on how to carry out and get away with murder.

Watson was found guilty of attempted murder at Reading Crown Court on 19 January following a two-week retrial.

There was a hung jury on that count at the initial trial but he was found guilty of kidnapping and had already pleaded guilty to unlawfully having the knife in a public place. Due to the seriousness of the offence and the strength of evidence against the defendant, the CPS pursued a retrial and this led to his conviction for attempted murder last month.

Liz Scriven of the CPS said: "Watson denied attempted murder, claiming that after careful planning, he decided against attacking his victim just hours before the ambush.

"The CPS pursued a retrial due to the gravity of the offence. Thanks to the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, who presented a compelling case to the court, the jury was able to see through his story and justice has been served."


Notes to Editors

  1. Liz Scriven is Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Thames and Chiltern
  2. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  3. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906. Out of Hours - 07590 617233