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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

Stephen Seddon guilty of murdering his parents


Cheryl Hramiak, Branch Crown Prosecutor at CPS North West said: "As a result of today's verdicts Stephen Seddon has been brought to justice for the violent and premeditated murders of his own parents and for an earlier attempt on their lives.

"He had planned these crimes in enormous detail and went to great lengths to cover his tracks and avoid detection, staging the scene of the murders to make it look like his father was responsible for the shootings. After his failed attempt to kill his parents by driving the car into the canal he even presented himself as a hero for trying to rescue them. His motive was purely financial: to get his inheritance without waiting for his parents to die. Since then he has tried to deceive everyone about what really happened and has shown no remorse whatsoever.


"The prosecution team has meticulously pieced together hundreds of items of evidence to present an overwhelming case that Stephen Seddon intended to kill his parents; that he failed in his first attempt but tragically succeeded in doing so in July 2012.


"The jury have consequently rejected his version of what happened when he drove the car into the canal and his bogus, and outlandish, accounts of the day that he killed his parents. They have recognised them for what they are - a catalogue of lies.


"I would like to offer my sincere sympathies to Robert and Patricia's family and friends. I hope the justice that has been delivered today will go some small way towards helping them to come to terms with their loss."