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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

Graham Coutts Found Guilty Of Teacher’s Murder


Graham Coutts has been found guilty at Lewes Crown Court today of the murder of Jane Longhurst.

“The CPS doesn’t rejoice in this verdict because we have to remember that Jane Longhurst, a teacher and a well respected and much loved member of the community died at his hand,” said Gary Perry, Head of CPS Sussex’s Crown Court Unit.

“I’m glad that we were able to fulfill our role in what was a great team effort in removing this dangerous and evil man from society. Although we did not have access to substantial forensic evidence, material retrieved from his computer about his sexual fantasies and also testimony from his former girlfriends about his sexual history was vital.

“We were able to build a strong case based on these and CCTV footage of his actions while he had the body. We had to deal with an enormous amount of evidence including nearly 1600 pages of witness statements.”

For further information contact CPS Press Office 01273 765638 or 07775 937862.