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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

Stefano Brizzi convicted of murdering Gordon Semple


A man who claimed the death of a man he met on social media site Grindr was accidental and the result of a sex game gone wrong has today been convicted of murder.

Gordon Semple went to the Southwark home of Stefano Brizzi, 50, on the afternoon of April 1 of this year. Later that evening Brizzi murdered him and then made efforts to dispose of his body. He has been convicted of one count of murder and had previously pleaded guilty to obstructing the coroner in the execution of his duty. Brizzi will be sentenced on 9 December.

Malcolm McHaffie, the deputy chief crown prosecutor for CPS London, said: "Stefano Brizzi is an evil and calculating man who intentionally killed Gordon Semple and then made gruesome attempts to dispose of his body. He cynically lied to the court and the jury claiming that Mr Semple's tragic death was caused when a sex game went horribly wrong and that he had taken drugs which caused him to try to cover up the death. This was all fabricated by Brizzi to evade justice.

"In taking steps to fully understand Brizzi's lifestyle, we scrutinised many thousands of social media messages. Piecing together the events of that evening was equally challenging, bearing in mind the extreme lengths that Brizzi went to to remove traces of his crime and cover his tracks. However, built on the foundation of a strong police investigation, and detailed toxicology and pathology evidence, we put a very strong case before the court and Brizzi has now been brought to justice for his terrible crimes.

"We hope that the outcome today provides some comfort to friends and family of Mr Semple."


Notes to Editors

  1. For the latest in breaking news from the CPS Press Office follow @cpsuk on Twitter and visit our official News Brief -
  2. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926